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Coming home to roost

Reports of bodies and fires in the streets in Lhasa as Tibetans continue their protest against Beijing. China has confirmed that ten people have been burnt to death.

The Chinese are using live rounds and flooding the streets of the Tibetan capital with troops.

The Times reports that angry Tibetans are attacking ethnic Han Chinese as the unrest spreads around the country.

It looks increasingly like the Chinese government will pay dearly for its desire to stage the 2008 Olympics in August as Tibetans use it as a stick to beat the Chinese government and use it as a spotlight to highlight the issue of occupied Tibet.

AFP is reporting that that the Tibetan government-in-exile is calling on the United Nations intervene to end what it called “urgent human rights violations” by China in the region following deadly protests.

The exiled government, in Dharamshala in northern India, which is home to the Dalai Lama, also said it had received “unconfirmed” reports that as many as 100 people have been killed and martial law imposed.

“The Tibetan parliament urges the UN to send representatives immediately and intervene and investigate the current urgent human rights violations in Tibet,” the administration said in a statement.

One of the questions is how many bodies will have to pile up before countries start pulling out of the Olympics? My guess a lot more.

According to AP, China is sticking to the line that the unrest in Tibet will not have a negative impact on the Beijing Olympic Games and the torch relay, which will travel up Mount Everest and across Tibet.

“BOCOG opposes any attempt to politicize the Olympic Games because that runs counter to the very spirit of the Olympic Games. We have been receiving tremendous support from the international community for the Olympic Games. The hosting of the Beijing Games is the 100-year dream for Chinese people and I think the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Tibet, very much look forward to hosting the Games,” Sun Weide, a spokesman for the organizing committee, known by its initials, BOCOG, told AP.

Chinese state media was doing what it does as well. It denounced the Dalai Lama on Saturday accusing the exiled Buddhist leader of turning the regional capital Lhasa into a “land of terror”.

In language, described by Reuters, as harsh even for Beijing’s frequent verbal attacks on Tibet’s spiritual leader, Xinhua’s English-language service accused the Dalai Lama of engineering the violence and accused foreign countries of abetting him.

“Now the blaze and blood in Lhasa has unclad the nature of the Dalai Lama, and it’s time for the international community to recheck their stance,” said the commentary, written in florid and sometimes ungrammatical English.

The Swiss have condemned “acts of violence” against demonstrators in Tibet, but as usual the European Union does not know what to do.

Reuters says that European Union leaders have urged China on Friday to show “restraint”.

“We asked for restraint on the part of the Chinese authorities. We asked for human rights to be respected. There is strong condemnation, coming from all the European Council and the 27 countries,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said told reporters.

However, the EU’s Slovenian presidency said the 27-nation bloc had not yet agreed on a joint declaration, although a presidency statement — which carries less political weight than summit conclusions — “might” be issued in the next three days.