Hundreds of people have died during the repression of last week’s demonstrations in Tibet against the Chinese occupation, according to the latest balance made public by the Tibetan government, which remains in exile in India.
Through a statement, the Tibetan Government, exiled in Dharamsala, in northern India, has assured that hundreds of Tibetans have died at the hands of the Chinese security forces after the protests in Lhasa, the most important city in Tibet and that since last Friday it has been the main scene of violent disturbances between Beijing and Tibetans opposed to the Chinese regime. This latest balance is very different from the official balance in Beijing, which puts 13 people dead in the demonstrations.
Chinese authorities have denied that their troops fired to quell the protests in Lhasa. Qiangba Puncog, the governor of the Chinese autonomous region, has insisted that calm is returning to Lhasa, under curfew and under strong military control. Thirteen “innocent civilians” have died in the protests, this Chinese government official said at a press conference. “I can say, assuming full responsibility, that we do not use lethal weapons or open fire,” said the governor.
Puncog has pointed out that the perpetrators of the riots have caused more than 300 fires in residential areas and stores, in addition to destroying 56 vehicles and 214 stores. The riots have also caused injuries to 61 policemen, of whom six are seriously injured.
While calm has returned to Lhasa, today the riots have moved to Kathmandu, where the Nepalese police have had to use tear gas to disperse some 200 Tibetans who gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters. Monks and nuns were among the protesters, police said. Violent protests have left seven Tibetans and five policemen injured. The protesters called for a “free Tibet” and chanted anti-Chinese slogans. More than 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal after fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against China.
Today at midnight (4:00 p.m. GMT) the deadline given by the authorities for the protesters who last Friday set fire to cars and businesses, looted stores and clashed with the police in protest at what they consider the Chinese occupation of the city, expires. Himalayan region.
The Tibetan president, currently in Beijing, has stated that the population of the region “will firmly fight against separatism, in favor of the unified homeland, and in pursuit of maintaining social stability.”
The Dalai Lama has accused China of committing “cultural genocide” in Tibet, something the Tibetan president has called “ridiculous”. According to Puncog, Dalai and his “clique of him” describe the riots as “peaceful demonstrations”, and the efforts to return to order as “repression”, something that according to the president of Tibet confuses public opinion.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice has urged Beijing to talk with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. But it was not the only statement today in the international community. The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, has called for an end to the violence in Tibet in view of the proximity of the Olympic Games, an event that he has described as an “opportunity” for China to demonstrate its commitment to human rights.
For its part, Russia has asked China today, through a brief statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to do whatever is necessary to stop the “illegal acts” that are taking place in Tibet, while not criticizing the policy of retaliation being carried out by Beijing.
And while the Government of the United Kingdom observes the crisis in Tibet with “concern” and calls for “containment” from China, the British Prime Minister’s spokesman, Gordon Brown, said today. “We are following with concern the recent unrest in Tibet, as well as related events in India and Nepal, and have called on the authorities to exercise containment,” the spokesman said.