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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Chinese Police Fire on Tibetan Rioters in Lhasa, At Least Two Dead

March 15, 2008

Radio Free Asia

KATHMANDU, March 14, (RFA) —Chinese police fired on rioting Tibetan
protesters in Lhasa on Friday, killing at least two people, as
Tibetans torched cars and shops and anti-Chinese demonstrators surged
through the streets of the regional capital, Radio Free Asia (RFA)
reports.

Witnesses who spoke to RFA's Tibetan service reported seeing two
bodies in the central Barkor area of Lhasa, while unconfirmed reports
set the death toll higher.

"There was shooting and death," another Tibetan source told RFA's
Mandarin service, adding, "It's not convenient to speak on the phone."

"Now the local Tibetans are protesting in the Barkor area," a third
Tibetan source said, referring to a central area in Lhasa. "They
ransacked Chinese shops and the police fired live ammunition into the
crowd. No one is allowed to move around in Lhasa now."

The rioting began around 10 a.m. Friday and by early evening Lhasa
roads were blocked, stranding workers inside their office buildings,
sources said.

A Han Chinese resident of Lhasa said cars and shops had been torched,
while another said the situation was "very messy."

Tibetan sources in the city said the protesters were burning and
smashing Chinese shops and anything Chinese as they moved through the
city, leaving thick black smoke billowing over Lhasa.

Protesters were running through the streets with traditional white
scarves in their hands, shouting "Free Tibet," sources said.

The protests swelled to a peak early Friday amid a reduced police
presence on the streets.

A third Han Chinese resident said a curfew took effect at around 1
p.m. The protests tailed off around 3:30 p.m., when large numbers of
paramilitary People's Armed Police (PAP) were mobilized, residents
said.

The crowd was joined by monks from the Ramochi monastery. It then
proceeded to smash or burn any property with real or perceived Chinese
connections, including a well-known restaurant, Tashi Delek, whose
Tibetan owners are believed to be pro-China.

"Protests occurred simultaneously at several locations," one witness
said. "Hundreds of protesters were marching in several directions,
including in the Barkor area and Rangshong Jong road."

"At one level it appeared to be a orchestrated protest, and at the
same time it appeared to be very random and spontaneous, with masses
of people emboldened by the relative lack of police presence on the
scene," the witness said. "So more and more Tibetans joined the
frantic crowds en-route. This was the biggest protest so far in
Lhasa."

Tensions in the Tibetan capital have escalated in recent days as the
city's three biggest monasteries were sealed off by thousands of armed
police. Armed Chinese police fired tear-gas to disperse a crowd of
several hundred protesting monks near Lhasa on Tuesday.

The protests began March 10 when hundreds of monks staged a rare
demonstration on the 49th anniversary of a 1959 uprising crushed by
the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The Dalai Lama, now 72,
subsequently fled into exile in northern India.

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts
news and information in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do
not have access to full and free news media. The purpose of RFA is to
provide a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within these
Asian countries. Our Web site adds a global dimension to this
objective.
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