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Learning English - Words in the News
17 March, 2008 - Published 14:02 GMT
Tibet unrest
Lhasa protest

A spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India says demonstrations in Tibet's main city Lhasa have for the moment stopped. The spokesman, Tenzin Takhla, said he had no reports of further violence. This report from Chris Morris:

Listen to the story

The spokesman said it was impossible for anyone to hold a demonstration in Lhasa at the moment. The city has, he said, been clamped down by Chinese security forces. There are house to house searches going on, and a number of former political prisoners are reported to have been detained again.

The spokesman, Tenzin Takhla, said protests have still been happening outside Lhasa. 'I can confirm, he said, that several thousand people have been demonstrating about four hours east of Lhasa, and the Chinese authorities have not intervened'.

China has given demonstrators in Tibet until midnight tonight local time to surrender. Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he is concerned about the deadline. He says up to a hundred people have been killed in protests over the past week. Chinese officials say the number is much lower, and they deny that any lethal force has been used to quell demonstrations.

Chris Morris, BBC News, Dharamsala in northern India

Listen to the words

clamped down
if someone in authority clamps down, they do something in order to stop or limit a particular activity

house to house searches
if a police officer searches you or your possessions, he or she looks for something you might be hiding ('house to house' refers to the fact that virtually every property is being searched)

former political prisoners
people who were previously held in prison for expressing disapproval of their own government, or for belonging to an organization, race or social group not approved of by that government

arrested, put back in prison

stopped the protests

to surrender
to stop demonstrating and fighting and admit defeat

spiritual leader
someone who is widely respected for his or her ideas and religious beliefs and is followed by others

a time by which something must be done at the latest

lethal force
a force, or power that can cause deaths; deadly weapons

to quell demonstrations
to stop the protests by using force

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