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There are reports of a stand-off between Chinese security forces and residents outside a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Sichuan province.
Local residents were reportedly trying to prevent police from detaining monks inside the Kirti monastery.
The area has been tense since last month, when a monk died after setting fire to himself.
"We have been told that the police have cordoned off the monastery and the community, in order to prevent monks being detained, surrounded the police," said Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The International Campaign for Tibet, based in the US, said ordinary Tibetans began gathering outside the monastery a few days ago when the authorities announced that monks would be taken away for re-education.
"It must be realised that the people cannot be controlled merely through economic growth and state propaganda," he said in a statement.
But much of the animosity seems to remain. Some Tibetans believe that their culture is under threat because of the immigration of Han Chinese into their areas.