Nearly 80 Tibetans Sentenced Since 2008 Anti-Beijing Protests བོད་སྐད།

Chinese authorities say they have tried and sentenced 76 people in connection with last year's anti-government protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

The figures were given Wednesday by Nyima Cering, the vice chairman of Tibet's regional parliament. He said more than 950 others have been detained.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Lhasa last March to protest more than 50 years of rule by the Chinese communists. The protests turned violent and spread to other Tibetan areas in western China before the military imposed a harsh crackdown.

Chinese officials say 22 people were killed in the unrest, but Tibet's government-in-exile says 218 Tibetans were killed and nearly seven thousand were detained during the crackdown.

Beijing blamed the unrest on the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, accusing him of seeking independence for the region.

The Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his homeland.

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule that forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India.

China has approved an annual "Serfs' Emancipation Day" holiday in Tibet, to mark the quelling of the uprising. The government says the March 28th observance will will celebrate the freeing of Tibetan serfs and slaves.

Beijing has also begun a massive security campaign in Tibet. State media say authorities have raided thousands of homes and businesses, and arrested scores of people for robbery, prostitution and theft.

But Tibet's government-in-exile says the campaign has been launched to prevent political protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.