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Dalai Lama urges restraint in Tibet monastery crisis

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The Dalai Lama has urged restraint in a standoff with security forces at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in China, warning of "catastrophic consequences" if the situation deteriorates.

"I urge both the monks and the lay Tibetans of the area not to do anything that might be used as a pretext by the local authorities to massively crack down on them," the exiled spiritual leader said in a statement posted on his website Saturday.

Clashes erupted at the Kirti monastery in China's southwest Sichuan province after a monk set himself on fire and died last month, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, a New York-based rights group.

Police unleashed trained dogs on residents outside the monastery and beat people when they tried to prevent forces from entering the compound on Tuesday, the rights group said in a Wednesday statement.

"I am very concerned that this situation, if allowed to go on, may become explosive with catastrophic consequences," the Dalai Lama said.

He also called on the international community to persuade the Chinese leadership to exercise restraint.

The statement said the monastery, housing 2,500 monks, was completely surrounded by Chinese armed forces, who at one point prevented vital food and other supplies from entering the compound.


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