Chinese media call for ‘crushing’ of Tibetan ‘conspiracy’

March 22nd, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 22 (DPA) China’s flagship media Saturday moved into high gear against those opposing Chinese rule in Tibet, saying the “Tibet independence” forces must be “resolutely crushed”. The demand, delivered in a commentary published by the People’s Daily newspaper, came after the official Xinhua news agency said the death toll in violent demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet had risen to 19, and more than 600 people were injured.

The report only included Chinese caught up in violence by Tibetans and gave no information about the number of Tibetan protestors killed or wounded. Exiled Tibetans put the number of dead at nearer 100.

The People’s Daily commentary said: “We must see through the secessionist forces’ evil intentions, uphold the banners of maintaining social stability, safeguard the socialist legal system and protect people’s fundamental interests, and resolutely crush the ‘Tibet independence’ forces’ conspiracy and sabotaging activities so as to foster a favourable social environment for reform and development and for people’s happiness and welfare.”

Repeating earlier Chinese government claims, it said that “evidence” showed the Tibetan resistance was “masterminded by the Dalai Lama clique with the vicious intention of undermining the upcoming Olympics and splitting Tibet from the motherland.”

A spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala denied the Dalai Lama was behind the protests.

“The protests were not coordinated, so no one had any control over them,” he said. “We regret that they became violent. The Dalai Lama has always been against violence.”

On Friday, Chinese police said for the first time said they shot protesters during violent Tibet-related unrest in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Police opened fire in self-defence during unrest last Sunday in the town of Aba, where members of China’s Tibetan minority live, Xinhua said, citing police sources.

As of Friday, 183 demonstrators had turned themselves in at Lhasa, Xinhua reported.

On Saturday, authorities estimated damage from the violence at 244 million yuan ($35 million).

Tibetan exile sources and witnesses have been reporting that China has sent military convoys into Tibet and neighbouring provinces, amid reports these include People’s Liberation Army troops, despite Beijing saying the convoys included only paramilitary armed police.

The sources said military units that had reached Lhasa had changed the insignia on their vehicles in order to disguise the fact that they were regular troops.

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