New uprisings and arrests in Tibet. Beijing criticises the foreign media
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Tension remains high in Tibet and in the neighbouring regions, with a massive presence of Chinese soldiers and police. A crowd of Tibetans armed with stones and knives yesterday killed a policeman in Garze, in the Tibetan area of Sichuan. According to a dispatch today from Xinhua, many security personnel have been wounded in the clashes. According to the Chinese news agency, "the police have been forced to fire warning shots, and have dispersed the unlawful crowd".
Xinhua does not specify whether the crowd was made up of Tibetans, nor whether there were any wounded among them. But the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy declares that "at least one Tibetan demonstrator has been killed, and another is in critical condition". The person killed is an 18 year-old Tibetan monk.
The Chinese media continue to report that Lhasa is under control, and that the revolt has withdrawn, attributing responsibility for the clashes to the Dalai Lama.
Public safety minister Meng Jianzhu visited Tibet last week, while the arrests and "voluntary" surrender of demonstrators were being publicised. At least 13 persons - according to the official media - were arrested yesterday for the demonstrations on March 14 and 15. In Abe in Sichuan, where clashes with police took place on March 16, ending with some killed, 381 persons gave themselves up to the Chinese authorities.
Until now, Beijing has claimed - often changing the story - that 18 Chinese civilians and one policeman have been killed so far by the rioters, but says nothing about the number of victims among the Tibetans. The Tibetan government in exile claims that at least 130 have been killed.
The Chinese government has placed tough restrictions on foreign journalists, who are unable to verify the news and information on the revolt in Tibet. At the same time, Beijing criticises as "imprecise", full of "errors", and "manipulated" the news reported by international agencies and television broadcasters.
Zhan Jiang, professor at the China Youth University in Beijing, commenting on the attitude of the government toward the foreign media, has said that "if the government has confidence in what it is doing in Tibet, it should demonstrate more openness and transparency", leaving the media free to do their work.