LHASA, CHINA -- The backpackers, climbers and travelers who make up the large foreign community in this Tibetan capital seem to be of one mind in their support of the anti-Chinese sentiment here. Most do not stay for long, but several have become intimately involved in the lives and causes of some Buddhist monks and lay Tibetans.

Many observers believe this support from foreigners has prevented the Chinese from launching more severe crackdowns in the wake of proindependence protests by Tibetans in the past two weeks.

Foreigners staying in the hotels catering to backpackers have organized nightly meetings to discuss unusual happenings and to share information about travel restrictions.

The type of information disseminated at these meetings ranges from accounts of harassment by Chinese police to reports of roadblocks en route to other cities in Tibet. One Swedish woman reported seven checkpoints on the road between Lhasa and Xigatze on the way to the Nepalese border. She said soldiers boarded her bus and checked the identification of all the Tibetan passengers.

Two Americans who befriended monks from the Sera monastery north of Lhasa were invited to the monastery recently to photograph the bodies of two monks who had died in rioting Oct. 1. Monks told the Americans they wanted documentation that two of their brothers had died of gunshot wounds.

Later, the same two men and one other American were invited to witness the "sky burial" of the two monks and three other adult males who presumably also died in the riot. Sky burial is an ancient Tibetan tradition in which the body is cut into pieces and left on a mountain top for birds and animals.

Another American, Blake Kerr of Buffalo, N.Y., a recent medical school graduate who has been traveling in China for about two months, witnessed the Oct. 1 violence, during which at least seven Tibetans died, and has been giving "very basic first aid" to victims with gunshot wounds, burns and bruises. "We've seen 13 gunshot victims -- three are monks," he said. "And we've seen two serious burn victims, but we know there are more."

Tibetans, Kerr said, have been denied adequate medical care at this city's Peoples' Hospital. "They haven't been turned away, but they're not getting standard medical care like you or I would in a western hospital," he said.

One man who was shot in the left calf was taken to the Peoples' Hospital, but "as soon as they sutured him up, he ran away," Kerr said. "If you have a gunshot wound, you're political and that means you're going to prison." He said there is a monk in a Lhasa prison with a broken arm who is not being treated, and that others he has treated are hiding in homes or in the monasteries.

Kerr, along with his traveling companion, John Ackerly, a Washington lawyer, were detained by Chinese authorities for questioning last week, and have remained in Lhasa. They have been ordered to leave China by today.

"I've been sneaking around, scared to death," said Kerr. "I'm sneaking into temples at night, climbing over walls, {taking} a non-ordinary route if possible."