LHASA, CHINA, OCT. 9 -- With their grip on this Tibetan capital apparently secure, Chinese police today lifted a roadblock in front of one of the Buddhist monasteries whose monks led an anti-Chinese demonstration here.
The roadblocks had been in place since Oct. 1, when a proindependence riot erupted, leaving at least seven Tibetans dead, most from police gunfire.
Police yesterday released more than 90 monks who had been arrested for taking part in demonstrations.
Although the city remained quiet, police continued to make displays of force throughout the city. Vans outfitted with loudspeakers warned the city's 60,000 residents that no further protests would be tolerated. Police also have taken up residence inside all three of Lhasa's major monasteries. Communications with the outside world remained severed.
The Associated Press reported that authorities ordered travelers not in tour groups to leave within a week, according to Jill Kluge, sales representative at the western-run Lhasa Hotel.
Fifteen foreign journalists left the capital today for Chengdu, in neighboring Sichuan Province, after Chinese authorities yesterday ordered all foreign journalists out of Tibet within 48 hours.
Officials at the local foreign affairs bureau, the agency that handles visits by foreign journalists, told reporters they were violating Chinese law by reporting on the disturbances in Lhasa.
In Beijing, an American Embassy official said U.S. Ambassador Winston Lord met with Chinese officials today to discuss the Tibet situation. He declined to provide details of the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Panchen Lama, China's main Tibetan ally, has called for severe punishment of Tibetan nationalists involved in last week's rioting, according to an official New China News Agency report quoted by Agence France-Presse. The Panchen Lama, who usually lives in the Chinese capital, is the most senior spiritual leader after the exiled Dalai Lama, whom many Tibetans worship as a living god.
The police crackdown, which began after the Oct. 1 rioting, has clearly frightened many of the city's inhabitants. By early this week, only a handful of younger monks still appeared willing to launch further protests. Senior monks were counselling the younger monks not to risk another march into Lhasa, sources said.
That fear is also mixed with anger. When reporters asked some monks what they thought of the Chinese, one held up his little finger -- a gesture of profanity.
"We want the Chinese to go home," he said.
A Tibetan woman in her early twenties said she was among the many women and children who had thrown stones at police Oct. 1.
"On that day we were very, very angry," said the woman, who sobbed as she spoke. "I was prepared to die."