[JURIST] The Tibetan government-in-exile [official website] said Monday that 130 people have been confirmed dead after skirmishes between pro-Tibet protesters [BBC backgrounder] and Chinese authorities, 31 more than an earlier estimate of 99. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported the official death toll at 22 on Saturday. China [JURIST news archive] has continued its crackdown against pro-independence demonstrators; on Saturday, it urged people to turn in rioters on a published list of 21 "Most Wanted" from last week's protests in the city of Lhasa. A Saturday editorial [text] in the People's Daily newspaper [media website] denounced the independence movement and called for strong action to end the violence:
We must see through the secessionist forces' evil intentions, uphold the banner of maintaining social stability, safeguard the socialist legal system and protect people's fundamental interests, and resolutely crush the "Tibet independence" forces' conspiracy and sabotaging activities so as to foster a favorable social environment for reform and development and for people's happiness and welfare.Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.
The protests, which began earlier this month, have escalated into violence as protesters attacked police vehicles, non-Tibetans migrants, and businesses and have prompted the Chinese government to block Internet access [JURIST report] to the video-sharing website YouTube after videos of the government crackdown appeared on the site. Rights groups have criticized China for ongoing human rights violations [HRW materials] targeted at Tibetans, and many call for the total independence [advocacy website] of the currently "semi-autonomous" region. The Dalai Lama, who accused China Sunday of committing "cultural genocide" [JURIST report] in Tibet, has encouraged the protests but said he will step down [AFP report] if the violence worsens.