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China arrests 9 monks for Tibet bombing

[JURIST] Nine Tibetan monks have been arrested by Chinese authorities in connection with the March bombing of a government building as part of recent protests against Chinese rule in Tibet [BBC backgrounder]. China's Xinhua news agency reported Saturday that the Buddhist monks have confessed to the bombing. Also Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao [BBC profile] said that the ongoing conflict in Tibet was not a "human rights problem" or an issue of religion or politics, but instead was about "preserving national unity." The Dalai Lama [personal website], Tibet's spiritual leader currently in exile, on Friday again denied he was seeking separation from China.

Chinese officials have blamed the exiled leader for the protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa last month. China claims 19 people died after the skirmishes, but the Tibetan government-in-exile [official website] said that 130 had died [JURIST report]. The Dalai Lama has denied accusations that he was behind the riots and has said that he supports true autonomy for Tibet, not outright independence. A Chinese government official in Tibet said last week that police have detained over 900 people [JURIST report] in connection with the protests. Reuters has more.

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