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On China's 60th anniversary, Tibet wants quiet

Thousands are expected at a government-led rally in Lhasa as Chinese soldiers with tear gas patrol the streets in a bid to prevent a riot similar to the one in March.

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Tibetans are hoping the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China will pass uneventfully, and Chinese police and military in Tibet are on heightened alert to make sure that there will not be a repeat of last year's deadly riots. While Thursday's celebrations will center on Beijing, with the country's largest-ever military parade, thousands are also expected to gather 2,500 miles away in Lhasa for a government-led rally in front of the Potala Palace, the exiled Dalai Lama's former home.

Despite the government's investments in Tibet, including a recent multi-million dollar renovation of Potala Palace, Tibetans interviewed in the weeks leading up to the anniversary say China has done little to improve their lives and that they resent Beijing's restrictions on freedom and religion.

"On the outside it looks better, but on the inside it is not," a Tibetan shop owner in the Himalayan capital said recently, referring to infrastructure upgrades in the city. "They make some improvements, but still we are not free."

'Social order' responsibility of armed police

The Dalai Lama has said the Chinese Communist Party has transformed Tibet into a "hell on earth." This year, Tibet marked the 50th anniversary of its failed 1959 uprising against China, only to have the federal government in Beijing rename it "Serfs Emancipation Day."

Communist Party officials in Tibet have vowed that the October celebrations will be free of dissent, though nationwide festivities are expected to increase pressure on police to prevent protesters from speaking out.


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