China raises security to contain Tibet protests

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BEIJING (AP) -- A senior official in Chinese-ruled Tibet is ordering heightened security in Buddhist monasteries and along key roadways as the government tries to prevent Tibetan protests from spreading.

During recent inspection tours reported by state media this week, Qi Zhala, the Communist Party secretary of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, warned clerics at monasteries that they would be dismissed if any trouble arose. He told police at a highway checkpoint leading into Lhasa to be alert for acts of sabotage.

The warnings underscore China's nervousness as it tries to squelch the most serious outbreak of anti-government protests among Tibetans in nearly four years. Three times last week, police opened fire on Tibetans who protested in areas of Sichuan province.