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Soldier stabbed in SW China: state media

world Updated: Mar 30, 2009 09:42 IST

AFP
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A Chinese soldier was stabbed at his barracks in the country's southwest, according to a state media report on Monday that quoted police saying Tibetan "separatists" could be to blame.

The China Daily said the attack in the city of Leshan in Sichuan province took place early on Thursday, a week after a soldier was shot and killed in Chongqing municipality, which neighbours Sichuan.

The report quoted an unnamed police official saying the stabbing "might be connected to Tibetan separatists," but gave no further details.

"If the two attacks are linked they are definitely terrorist attacks," the police official said.

"The terrorists' purpose is to attract international attention as some westerners still think the People's Liberation Army entered Tibet to suppress, not to liberate."

China has imposed heavy security in Tibet and adjacent Tibetan areas to prevent unrest during and after the March 10 anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Parts of Sichuan, which borders Tibet, have substantial Tibetan populations.

In the Chongqing attack, the unknown assailants made off with the slain 18-year-old soldier's submachine gun, Xinhua news agency had said.

The assailant in the Sichuan assault jumped a fence into the barracks and stabbed the soldier in the back several times before fleeing, the China Daily said.

No further information was given on the soldier's condition or on the identity of the attacker.

Since the attack, every sentry at military camps in Leshan has been equipped with a rifle fitted with a bayonet and a pistol, the police official was quoted as saying.

Violent outbursts directed at government targets over perceived injustices are common in China, but attacks on soldiers are extremely rare.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops to "liberate" it the previous year.

Beijing accuses the exiled Dalai Lama of masterminding a Tibetan separatist campaign in the region, a charge he denies.