Tibetan high school students’ protests spreads in western China

To mark the 51st anniversary of an uprising against the Chinese rule and the second anniversary of the Lhasa riots, dozens ofTibetan students protested in the far-western Chinese province of Gansu this week, residents said on Thursday.

According to witnesses police detained about 20 teenagers in the remote western town of Hezuo in Gansu province on Wednesday, while up to 40 Tibetans had already been arrested in the nearby Maqu county on Sunday. Local Maqu residents said nearly 600 protesters joined some 30 Tibetan students and demonstrated against a lack of freedom while some of them even called for Tibetan independence.

However, local government officials in Maqu and Hezuo said they have no information about any protests in the province.

Earlier on Sunday, all Tibetan-owned hotels, restaurants and shops in the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s (TAR) capital ofLhasa had closed their doors, despite orders from the security forces to open their shops. By closing their shops, the Tibetans wanted to commemorate the second anniversary of the Lhasa riots with an act of defiance.

Despite a massive presence of security forces throughout the wider Tibetan region, this is already the second report of street protests in the wake of the anniversary of the March 14 2008’s riots in Lhasa.