Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Protesters 'surrender in Tibet'

Protesters near Hezuo in Gansu tear apart a flag
Gansu protesters tore up China's flag and raised the Tibetan one

More than 100 people have turned themselves in to police following anti-China riots in Tibet's main city, Lhasa, Chinese state media have said.

Harsh punishment had been threatened if they failed to meet a Monday deadline.

Reports have emerged of other protests in Chinese provinces bordering Tibet, including Tibetans tearing down a Chinese flag in Gansu province.

UK PM Gordon Brown said China's Premier Wen Jiabao had told him he was open to a dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

Also on Wednesday, the Tibetan spiritual leader asked Tibetan activists not to undertake a controversial march from India to Lhasa.

Olympics vow

The Tibet regional government said 105 protesters had handed themselves over to police by 2300 (1500GMT) on Tuesday, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The premier told me that, subject to two things... he would be prepared to enter into dialogue
Gordon Brown

All had been involved in "beating, smashing, looting and arson", the agency quoted Baema Chilain, vice-chairman of the regional government, as saying.

Serious unrest was reported in provinces close to Tibet with large ethnic Tibetan populations.

Video has emerged from nearby Gansu province showing Tibetans tearing down a Chinese flag and replacing it with a Tibetan flag.

Hundreds of protesters can be seen on foot and horseback in Tuesday's incident at a school near Hezuo, captured by a Canadian film crew.

Tibet: Protests began in Lhasa on 10 March, dozens reported dead over weekend
Gansu: Unrest spread to Machu, where Tibetan government in exile says 19 died, and near Hezuo, where protesters were filmed tearing down Tibetan flag
Sichuan: Reports of riots and casualties in Aba, and of unrest in other locations
Qinghai: Other unrest reported

The demonstrators tried to march on a government building before security forces used tear gas to stop them, reports from the scene said.

The India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said three people had been killed by security forces in Garze, Sichuan province.

The group said hundreds of people had taken to the streets with banners calling for Tibetan independence.

The Chinese government and rights groups have provided radically different accounts of the past week's unrest.

The Tibetan government in exile in India says 99 people have now died in clashes with security forces - including 80 in Lhasa.

But Chinese officials say only 13 people died - and they were killed during riots by Dalai Lama supporters.

Foreign journalists have not been allowed into Lhasa and information is tightly controlled, making it difficult to verify either of these claims.

Olympic torch

China's handling of the Tibet issue is being watched closely by world leaders in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

China says Tibet was always part of its territory
Tibet enjoyed long periods of autonomy before 20th century
1950: China launched a military assault
Opposition to Chinese rule led to a bloody uprising in 1959
Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled to India

Officials said on Wednesday that the Olympic torch - which will be carried across China ahead of the Games - will still go through Tibet despite the current troubles.

It is due to be carried to the top of Mount Everest in May, and to pass through Lhasa in June.

Gordon Brown told the UK parliament Mr Wen had told him there could be dialogue with the Dalai Lama under certain conditions.

"The premier told me that, subject to two things that the Dalai Lama has already said - that he does not support the total independence of Tibet and that he renounces violence that he would be prepared to enter into dialogue," Mr Brown said.

He said he had told Mr Wen the violence must end.

Chinese officials have been engaged in on-off contacts with Tibetan exiles for 30 years but the last talks were in July last year.

Dalai Lama appeal

Mr Brown also said he would meet the Dalai Lama during a visit to London in May, a move China would certainly oppose.

Free Tibet protester in Delhi, India, 18 March
Tibetan activists say Chinese troops shot indiscriminately(Warning: Graphic content)

The Dalai Lama has told groups organising the controversial march from India to Lhasa that he feared there would be clashes with Chinese troops on the border.

Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide, said: "His Holiness appealed to [them] to end their protest march to Tibet."

Protests began on 10 March, on the anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, and gradually escalated.

BBC correspondents say there has been a significant increase in the number of military convoys heading into Tibet from neighbouring regions.

An eyewitness told the BBC there had been a military build-up in the city of Aba, which has seen large-scale protests in recent days. The witness said it was in a "curfew-like" situation.

China says Tibet has always been part of its territory but Tibet enjoyed long periods of autonomy before the 20th Century and many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959.

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