New violence has broken out in a volatile Tibetan region of western China, leaving at least one government official seriously injured, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday. An overseas Tibet activist group said eight people had been killed in the incident, citing a source among Tibetan exiles in India.
It said police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who marched on local government offices to demand the release of two monks detained for possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama.
Xinhua made no mention of deaths or injuries among protesters, but said a “riot” had flared up on Thursday night outside government offices in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture high in the mountains in Sichuan province along the border with Tibet. It said the official was “attacked and seriously wounded,” and said police were “forced to fire warning shots and put down the violence”. No other details were given.
The report indicates continuing unrest in Tibetan areas despite a massive security presence imposed after sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations broke out last month in Tibet’s capital Lhasa and neighbouring provinces.Late last month, Xinhua reported that protesters in Garze attacked police with knives and stones, killing one officer. Matt Whitticase, spokesman for the London-based Free Tibet Campaign, said the incident originated at the Tonkhor monastery in Garze with government attempts to enforce a new “patriotic education campaign”.