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AS-China-TenseTibet 4thLd-Writethru 03-09

Blasts rock Tibetan area

Homemade bombs damaged police vehicles in a Tibetan part of western China today, and authorities expanded a security cordon across the restive region ahead of the 50th anniversary of a failed revolt that sent the Dalai Lama into exile.

Armed police patrolled the streets outside Buddhist monasteries, which have been at the forefront of many protests. New checkpoints went up on previously open roads, the Internet and text messaging have been blocked, and the government ordered foreigners out of the mixed Chinese-Tibetan city of Kangding.

Tuesday is the anniversary of an uprising 50 years ago against Chinese rule that sent the Dalai Lama into exile and protests last year that became the most widespread, violent revolt by Tibetans in decades.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said that Tibet was basically stable and urged Tibetan politicians in Beijing to develop the long-lagging region economically to tamp down on separatism. "We should build a solid great wall to oppose the separatists, uphold the unity of the mother and advance Tibet from basic stability to lasting stability," Hu said.

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Early today, small bombs ripped the emergency lights and roofs off a police car and fire engine at a remote timber farm in Qinghai province said.

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