They lined up hundreds strong to touch the dirt. Some fell to their knees, clutching the gritty stuff as though it were a long-lost child. Others lifted it to their lips to savor a taste of the home they left behind decades ago.
For most people in the world, freedom of religion is of such paramount importance and warrants all the legal and constitutional respect and protection. It is fair to say that this concept has been imbedded in numerous people's mind such that any accusation of its violation almost automatically triggers waves of condemnation.
A Chinese court sentenced 17 people, including six monks, to jail sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment for their roles in riots in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa last month, state media reported Tuesday.
The Olympic torch relay ran its course without major incident in Indonesia on Tuesday, with torch-bearers circling a track around Jakarta's main sports stadium in front of invited guests and journalists. Pro-Tibet demonstrators were kept far away.
Indonesian police arrested six pro-Tibet protesters and took down anti-Chinese banners and signs outside a sports complex where Tuesday's Olympic torch relay was scheduled to be held, according to a protest organizer.
Hundreds of flag-waving Chinese students gathered at the starting and ending points of the Olympic torch relay in Kuala Lumpur Monday, far outnumbering the handful of people who carried pro-Tibet signs.
Nepalese police arrested 84 Tibetan exiles who were staging an illegal protest at China's embassy visa office in Kathmandu on Saturday, a continuation of anti-Chinese demonstrations that began earlier in the month.
Tibet's exile government said the death toll from protests in the Himalayan region over the past two weeks has reached about 140, but Chinese government restrictions have made it difficult confirm the number killed.
Live video showed scores of Chinese police searching door to door in a section of Lhasa Sunday as part of a crackdown following violent protests in the Tibetan capital that may have left as many as 100 dead.
Tibet's spiritual leader Thursday said he was powerless to stop anti-Chinese violence as authorities in Beijing acknowledged for the first time that unrest had spread into neighboring Chinese provinces.
It wasn't Tibet's subzero temperatures that nurse practitioner Arlene Samen found so chilling on a 1997 medical trip, but the haunting stories she was told about mothers and newborns on the brink of death after childbirth.
This week's protests in Tibet began Monday, and turned violent Friday in the provincial capital, Lhasa. Unless otherwise noted, the information comes from the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, run by exiles in India, and the International Campaign for Tibet, which has offices in Washington, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels.
As the Sky Train departs Beijing West Railway Station at 9:30 p.m., there isn't an inch of unclaimed real estate in the train's 16 carriages. Suitcases spill into the aisles, doubling as chairs for passengers without seats.
Britain's Prince Charles will not attend the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing -- and a group that campaigns against China's human rights record said Monday that the future monarch's decision was in solidarity with its aims.
When China opened its controversial new railway to Tibet last July, international critics howled at the prospect that the region's culture and environment would be ravaged in search of resources. China repeated a solemn refrain, its officials insisting that the $4 billion project was aimed not at plundering the disputed territory but at bringing prosperity and economic development to Tibetan society.