CHINA> National
Lhasa riot footage 'has been doctored'
By Wang Linyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-27 07:48

A video clip of the March 14 Lhasa riot recently hyped by Western media has "obviously" been manipulated and is "misrepresentative", Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday.

"Maybe the Dalai Lama and his followers got some image-editing tips from some Western media," he said.

"The intention of the Dalai Lama and his backers in releasing the video clip is obvious."

The video allegedly shows Chinese policemen beating up Tibetan protesters during the riot.

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Citing an unidentified official with China's Tibetan regional government, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday that the video came from sources linked to the Dalai Lama's "government-in-exile" and was pieced together from different places, according to the Associated Press.

Zhu Feng, a scholar on international studies with Peking University, said releasing such a video is among the tricks frequently used by the Dalai group in its pursuit of "Tibet independence".

The Dalai group fabricates information about Tibet and takes it as a survival strategy, Zhu said.

"They use it to provoke Western countries' anger against China and win sympathy from the international community. And Western media just sensationalize this," he said.

"We hope media can make objective, comprehensive and truthful observations on the criminal nature of the March 14 riot in Lhasa," Qin said.

Earlier this week, Western media reported China had "blocked" YouTube for streaming footage of the riot. The online video-sharing network also said China has blocked its service.

Qin said on Tuesday the government "encourages the use of Internet and manages the Internet according to the law".

Some journalists have neglected some facts when reporting on the riot, he said yesterday.

"Have you ever cared about the civilians who were burnt or hacked to death in the event? Do you remember the five young girls who were burnt to death in the event? Do you remember the sad look on the faces of the parents who lost their children?" Qin asked.

He said the riot killed at least 18 people, and injured more than 620. It undermined social order and caused direct economic losses totaling nearly 300 million yuan ($44 million).

But local police and officers of the armed police force refrained from using lethal weapons during the riot and performed their duties with great restraint, Qin said.

"The crimes committed by the Dalai group are irrefutable and are proven by ironclad evidence" that "cannot be denied by the Dalai Lama and his supporters", Qin said.

"The Dalai group's secessionist plot hasn't succeeded and is doomed to failure," he added.

Qin gave the journalist who raised the question about YouTube a book and a DVD about Tibet, asking him to stream the footage online.

He also advised him to visit the ongoing exhibition on the 50th anniversary of Tibet's Democratic Reform at the Working People's Cultural Palace to learn about the region.