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Press Release: More Facts About the Beating, Destruction of Property, Looting and Arson in Lhasa and Attacking Chinese Diplomatic Institutions Abroad by Separatists Seeking "Tibet Independence"(March 18, 2008),

1. On 17 March, the State Council Information Office of China held press conference and invited Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government to brief the press on the incident of beating, destruction of property, looting and arson in Lhasa.

 

Qiangba Puncog said, on March 14, a serious criminal act of violence involving fighting, destruction of property, looting and arson took place in Lhasa. It was premeditated, organized and instigated by the Dalai clique and perpetrated by the separatist forces for "Tibetan independence" both in and outside China acting in collusion.

 

At around 11 o'clock that morning, some monks started to throw stones at police officers on patrol near Ramoche Temple. Later, some rioters converged on Barkhor Street, where they chanted separatist slogans and went on a beating, smashing, looting and burning spress. The violence soon spread to other parts of the city. These lawless people launched assaults on the street-side shops, primary and middle schools, hospitals, banks, power and communication facilities and news agencies along the major streets in Lhasa, set vehicles on fire, chased and attacked passengers, and attacked department stores, telecommunication services outlet and government offices. The incident  caused heavy losses of life and property to the local people and seriously undermined law and order.

 

Qiangba Puncog said, in fact, some lawless people gathered together and started to create disturbances on March 10th. Defying advice from the police, they shouted "Tibetan independence" slogans, vilified police officers on duty and attacked them with sticks, stones and daggers.

 

According to the information I have, during the violent incident in the past few days in Lhasa, a total of 56 vehicles were smashed or burned and 13 innocent civilians were burned or slashed to death. Dozens of policemen on patrol were injured, 4 of them seriously. 61 armed policemen were injured, 6 of them seriously. Over 300 sites were set on fire, including shops,  and residences with 214 rooms.

 

The perpetrators mainly attacked places along Barkhor Street, North Linkuo Road, Sere Road, Najin Road, Second Ring Road, Centrl Beijing Road, etc. Among the places attackes were No. 2 Middle School, Haicheng Primary School, Trom Si Khang Department Store, the East Beijing Road sub-branch of Tibet branch of Bank of China, mobile telecommunication service outlets , the offices of the Tibet bureau of Xinhua News Agency and Tibet Daily, and some government buildings.

 

Qiangba Puncog said, I want to point out in particular the perpetrators resorted to extremely brutal means in their killing spree. For example, they poured gasoline on one innocent civilian and burned the person to death, and after knocking out an armed policeman, they cut out a piece of flesh the size of a fist from his buttocks.

The people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have expressed strong indignation at and condemnation of the incident. After violence broke out, TheTibet Autonomous Region promptly organized public security officers, armed police and other personnel to put out the fires, treat the injured, strengthen protection of schools, hospitals, banks and government offices, and deal with the criminal act in accordance with the law. The measures we have taken are intended to maintain public order, uphold the sanctity of laws and protect the fundamental interest of the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. Through these efforts, the situation has calmed down and stability has returned to Lhasa.

 

Qiangba Puncog said, I want to point out with indignation that the Dalai clique and some Westerners have called the violent crimes 'peaceful protest' and describe our handling of the incident, which had seriously jeopardized the life and property of the local people and undermined public order in Lhasa, "suppression of peaceful protests". These people are confounding black and white. I challenge them to answer me: would any democratic government under the rule of law tolerate such violence as we have seen in Lhasa?

 

I also want to inform you that in responding to the incident, our public security officers and armed policemen showed great restraint and performed their duty in accordance with the law and in a civilized manner. None of them carried or used any lethal weapon in the whole process.

Finally Qiangba Puncog emphasized that the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have the firm resolve to oppose any separatist move, safeguard national unity and maintain law and order. Any attempt to destabilize Tibet and split it from China runs counter to the will of the people and is doomed to failure. I am confident that under the leadership of the Central Government, the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region is fully capable of maintaining law and order in Tibet and protecting the fundamental interests of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.

 

2. On March 17, Liu Jianchao, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman commented on the attacks on Chinese diplomatic institutions abroad by separatist forces for "Tibet independence" outside China.

 

Liu Jianchao said, since the recent incidents of beating, destruction of property, looting and arson in Lhasa, the separatist forces for "Tibet independence" outside China have launched dozens of violent attacks on Chinese diplomatic institutions abroad. These are malicious acts aimed at splitting China premeditated and organized by the Dalai clique.

 

Liu Jianchao said, These "Tibet independence" separatists resorted to enormous violence. They tore down cordons drawn up by the police of the host countries, smashed doors, windows and vehicles, severely disrupted the work order of Chinese diplomatic institutions, posed grave threat to the safety of life of Chinese diplomats and the dignity of Chinese diplomatic institutions. The violent actions of these separatists revealed once again the separatist nature of the Dalai clique and the hypocrisy and fraudulence of its self-claimed peacefulness and non-violence. We strongly condemn the violent acts of the separatists.

Liu Jianchao said, These violent acts have drawn the attention of the governments in relevant countries. Quite a few countries have taken measures to strengthen the protection of the Chinese diplomatic institutions, to which we have expressed appreciation. We urge the governments of the countries concerned take effective measures in accordance with Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other international norms to further strengthen the protection of Chinese diplomatic institutions and personnel so as to ensure that the safety and dignity of the Chinese diplomatic institutions and personnel are not compromised.

Liu Jianchao emphasized that the Chinese Government will unswervingly safeguard the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, promote development and stability in Tibet and protect the safety of life and property of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. No force will stop development and progress in Tibet. Any attempt to split China will be firmly opposed by the Chinese people of all nationalities including the Tibetan compatriots and is doomed to fail.

 


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