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'Two die' in new Tibet clashes

Deadly clashes between ethnic Tibetans and Chinese security forces have spread to a second area in south-western China, reports say.

Two Tibetans were killed and several more were wounded when security forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Seda county in Sichuan province, the group Free Tibet said. Local people said the area was under a curfew.

According to the Chinese government, a "mob" of people charged a police station in Seda and injured 14 officers, forcing police to open fire on them.

The official Xinhua News Agency said police killed one rioter, injured another and arrested 13.

The spread of violence came after some 30 Tibetans sheltered in a monastery after being wounded when Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesters in neighbouring Luhuo county, according to a Tibetan monk.

He said military forces had surrounded the building. Later he could not be contacted by phone.

The areas have been tense for some time, and at least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest in the past year.

Most have chanted for Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The United States, which will host Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping at the White House next month, has expressed grave concern at the reported violence.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Browne said the UK also was concerned. "I urge the Chinese government to exercise restraint, to release full details of the incidents, and to work to resolve the underlying grievances," his statement said.

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