Government chief ensures safety in Tibet

Updated: 2008-03-17 12:33

No Use of Lethal Weapons on Rioters

The head of Tibet's regional government denied that security personnel carried or used lethal weapons in dealing with the violent riots in Lhasa last Friday.

"The security personnel showed restraint in the entire process of handling the incident," said Qiangba Puncog at a news briefing in Beijing on Monday.

"In dealing with the violent riots, the security forces carried out their duties strictly according to law and in a civil manner," said Qiangba Puncog.

He also expressed confidence that social stability and order would be maintained under the leadership of the central government, despite secessionist activities in Lhasa.

Qiangba Puncog said people of all ethnic groups in Tibet were determined to fight secession, safeguard national unity and maintain social stability.

"Any plots to destroy social stability or to mastermind the secession of Tibet are against the will of the people in Tibet and doomed to failure," he said.

At the briefing, Qiangba Pungcog said that sixty-one police were injured in last Friday's riot in Lhasa, six of them seriously.

Rioters attacked public security personnel in an extremely cruel manner while they were maintaining order and refrained from using weapons, said the chairman.

"For instance, the rioters beat a patroling police officer until he got into coma, and rioters cut out a piece of flesh, as big as a fist, from his buttock," he said.

Some rioters stoned patrol officers around 11:00 am on March 14 at the Ramogia Monastery in Lhasa. They then gathered around the Bargor street, chanting "independence" slogans and going on a destruction rampage.

The violence accelerated quickly. The mob set fire to shops, vehicles and pedestrians that passed by. Schools, banks, hospitals and communication facilities were also their targets, Qiangba Pungcog said.

He stressed that throughout the incident, both public security personnel and armed police exercised restraint, and showed great professional spirit and adherence to law. "They didn't carry or use any lethal weapons," he added.

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