Victims recount experience in riot in Lhasa

Updated: 2008-03-20 20:09

Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death, and 325 people were injured. Damage has increased to more than 200 million yuan (about 28 million US dollars), according to the Tibetan regional government. The violence damaged 422 shops, six hospitals, seven schools and 120 homes, and 84 vehicles were torched.

"The severe violence and riot in Lhasa is neither a social security problem, nor an ethnic problem," said Ragdi, former vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's parliament.

"The riot was maliciously incited into bloody violence on purpose to pressure the Chinese government [and] undermine the upcoming Beijing Olympics," said Ragdi.

Since March 10, more than 300 monks from the Zhaibung Monastery have ventured into downtown Lhasa. The monks, who were supposedly adherents of peace, aggressively confronted security forces. It was the anniversary of an earlier event: on March 10, 1959, Lhasa witnessed a failed rebellion aimed at the secession of Tibet from the motherland.

At Sera Monastery, 10 monks held up flags of the so-called Tibetan exile government and shouted "Tibetan independence". In the ensuing days, some monks chanted independence slogans and challenged officers who were maintaining order.

On the same day that the 300 ventured into downtown Lhasa, groups of monks started a "March to Tibet" from across the border in India.

The Dalai clique maintained real-time contacts, sources say, through varied channels with the rioters in Lhasa, and dictated instructions to his devotees and coordinated their moves.

Rioters came with backpacks full of stones and flammable liquids. They were well-organized and not spontaneous, as the Dalai clique claimed.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, the Dalai Lama always wrongly claims that Tibet is a nation occupied by China, denying the fact that the region has historically been a part of China.

The lawbreakers, killing innocent people and disturbing social order, aroused strong condemnation from people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.

"Religion advocates care and mercy, but the reckless rioters attacked hospitals and child-entertainment centers," said Cering Doje, deputy director of the religion research institute of the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences (TASS). "They seemed to have lost basic humanity, and there was no mercy at all."

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