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China said to have 90 nuclear warheads in Tibet

NEW DELHI, India -- China has deployed about 90 nuclear warheads in Tibet, some fitted on intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Tibetan government-in-exile said Monday.

In a report titled, 'Tibet: Proving Truth From Facts,' the Dalai Lama's office said the Chinese government had a number of nuclear- manufacturing facilities in Tibet and also was dumping radioactive waste in the region, annexed by Beijing in the 1950s.

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The 97-page report echoed the recent findings of a Washington- based group, International Campaign for Tibet, that China had in recent years stepped up nuclear activities in the world's highest plateau.

'China is reported to have stationed approximately 90 nuclear warheads in Tibet,' the study said, citing information collected from Tibetans.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Li Huming dismissed as 'a rumor' the report on atomic weapons in Tibet. But when asked to list provinces where Chinese nuclear arms were deployed, Li said: 'That's a military secret. I can't tell you.'

China, which reportedly is engaged in a major conventional-military and nuclear modernization program, is believed by international experts to have as many as 300 atomic weapons. According to a 1988 Stanford University study, the Chinese nuclear armory is larger than the combined arsenals of Britain and France.

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China annexed Tibet, 'the roof of the world,' in 1951. After an abortive independence uprising, the Tibetans' god-king, the Dalai Lama, fled to India with more than 100,000 followers in 1959.

The Dalai Lama has since lived in the Himalayan resort town of Dharamsala, in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Dharamsala also serves as the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which prepared its report to rebut claims in a Chinese 'white paper' on Tibet released last September.

The Dalai Lama's report argued that 'The Ninth Academy,' a major Chinese weapons-design laboratory at Amdo, northeastern Tibet, had 'dumped an unknown quantity of radioactive waste on the Tibetan plateau.'

'Official Chinese pronouncements have confirmed the existence in Tibet of the biggest uranium reserves in the world,' it said, adding that many Tibetans living near uranium mines died after drinking radioactive water.

The report contended that in Tibet China had nuclear missile bases south of Lake Kokonor, at Nagchukha and Delingha and to the west of Dhashu, also known as Haiyan, where Beijing has 'established a launch site' for the DF-4, its first ICBM.

China also had set up, the report claimed, weapon-manufacturing centers at Dhashu and Tongkhor, which the Chinese have renamed as Huangyuan.

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