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Tibetan Exiles Vote for Prime Minister


Tibetan exiles around the world are voting for a new prime minister of their government-in-exile.

Thousands of Tibetans lined up Saturday in Dharamsala, northern India, to cast their vote. Balloting also took place in Nepal, Australia, Taiwan, Europe and North America.

This is just the second direct election by Tibetans of the exiled government in India. Incumbent Samdhong Rinpoche is the favorite. He is running against former cabinet minister Juchen Thubten.

Meanwhile, two Tibetan nuns who recently fled their homeland in the face of severe restrictions by the Chinese government have arrived in Dharamsala.

Rigzin Choekyi and Lhundup Zangmo were part of a group known as the "singing nuns," who secretly recorded songs about the Dalai Lama while they were in Tibet's notorious Drapchi prison.

As a result of the tape, Chinese officials extended the nuns' prison terms. They eventually were released, but have been under strict supervision ever since.

In March, Chinese authorities allowed another of the so-called singing nuns, who had spent 15 years in prison, to fly to the United States.

Phuntsog Nyidron had been out of prison since 2004, but her movements also had been restricted.

Nyidron was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to nine years in prison after taking part in a peaceful protest against Chinese rule.

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