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Dalai Lama Issues Warning - Are the Beijing Summer Olympics at Risk?

Violence in Tibet spotlights human rights issues in China

The Dalai Lama has threatened resignation if Tibetans continue to commit violent acts against the government. His statement on Tuesday comes in the wake of riots and deaths in the struggle for Tibetan independence and/or autonomy from China.

The Road to PeaceThe Road to PeaceAccording to CNN.com, the Chinese government sees Tibet as autonomous, but many Tibetans feel that autonomy is in name only. The Dalai Lama agrees with his compatriots and says that many Tibetans are marginalized and treated as lower class citizens in their own country.

But violence isn't the way to independence.

After the press conference, Tenzin Taklha, one of the Dalai Lama's top aides clarified comments for AP News. "If the Tibetans were to choose the path of violence he would have to resign because he is completely committed to nonviolence. He would resign as the political leader and head of state, but not as the Dalai Lama. He will always be the Dalai Lama."

Protests have since spilled from Tibet into neighboring provinces, including Beijing. And the world is watching closely. Only months ahead of the summer Olympics (August 8-24, 2008) in Beijing - will the Olympics continue as planned? Will travel be safe?

China's deadline for protestors to turn themselves into custody came and went on Monday evening. Hours later, the US government-funded Radio Free Asia reported that authorities had begun arresting hundreds of people, according to AP news.

Over the past week many governments have issued warnings against travel to China because of the outbreak of violence in Lhasa, the capital. If you are already in Tibet, use common sense to keep you safe. Avoid riots and/or public demonstrations and avoid unnecessary movement throughout the city.

If you do find yourself in the middle of a demonstration, put your camera away and seek refuge in a nearby hotel.

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