Riots leave 325 injured, $28m in damage

(China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-03-21 07:21

About 325 people were injured in the violence in Lhasa last Friday, while damage estimates climbed to more than 200 million yuan ($28 million), according the latest count by the Tibetan regional government.

The losses include 100 million yuan suffered by shops, 9.05 million in financial services and the rest in damages done to government buildings, the latest tally suggested.

The eruption of violence damaged 422 shops, six hospitals, seven schools and 120 civilian residences. Eighty-four vehicles were torched.

Thirteen civilians were burned or stabbed to death, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the regional government, said on Monday.

Sources with the government said that by 10 pm on Wednesday, 170 people had turned themselves in to police for their roles in the riot.

Power and water supplies are now back to normal in Lhasa.

Most of the damaged power facilities, including two branch boxes near Jokhang Temple, had been repaired by yesterday and the grid was operating smoothly, sources with the Lhasa Electric Power Administration said.

A provisional client service center for electricity was set up after the city's only center was destroyed.

Transformer substations were being protected by power company staff, a Tibet Power Company official said.

Meanwhile, some gas stations have also reopened. Lhasa Water Company employees are on duty around the clock to protect their water sources and water pumps from sabotage. Armed police have been sent in for support.

Rumors of poisoned drinking water began to spread hours after the unrest. However, officials dismissed the rumor, saying tests performed by the water company and regional disease control and prevention center experts showed the supply was safe.

Train services have also returned to normal. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is operating on schedule, Jia Nailin, the station's deputy head, said.

In recent days, more than 2,000 people arrived at the station daily and there were more than 1,000 departures, Jia said. Security has also been beefed up at the station.

Following the turmoil, the Tibetan region's foreign affairs office stopped issuing travel permits to foreigners on Monday. Tour groups are still allowed to travel to Tibet, but the region's tourism bureau suggested they postpone travel plans because of damage to facilities.

Vigorito Carlo, an astrophysics researcher who works for the Institute of High Energy Physics in Yangbajain in Tibet, flew into Beijing from Lhasa on Wednesday night.

He said he had planned to stay in Lhasa until next Saturday, but had to cut his trip short.

"The city is calm now, but my family was still worried. I will resturn to Yangbajain next year," he told Xinhua at Beijing airport.


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