Join our Mailing List

"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Two Killed in Clash over Tibet as Chinese Police, Activists Spar

May 1, 2008

The Wall Street Journal
April 30, 2008

SHANGHAI -- Chinese authorities said a policeman and a Tibetan activist
were killed in an unusual gun battle this week, as clashes continue in
restive ethnic areas in China with just 100 days until it hosts the
Summer Olympics.

The shooting incident is the first gun fight between Chinese police and
Tibetan activists reported by China's state-run media during the often
violent crisis that began with anti-government riots in Lhasa, the
Tibetan capital, in mid-March. A police officer was shot six times
during an early morning raid on Monday against ethnic-Tibetans suspected
of leading a protest last month in northwest China's Qinghai province, a
spokesman for the provincial Public Security Bureau said Wednesday,
confirming a report by the official Xinhua news agency.

The gunfight followed an unexpected announcement by Beijing on Friday
that it was willing to meet with a representative of the Tibetan
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama -- an offer that sparked hopes of a
possible détente. On Wednesday, officials of Tibet's government in exile
and envoys of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, were due to
arrive in the Indian hill town of Dharmsala to discuss how to respond to
that offer, an aide to the Dalai Lama said earlier.

Other signs since Friday's announcement have not appeared to bode well
for rapprochement. China's media have kept up a steady stream of
criticism of the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing accuses of masterminding the
March riots as part of his effort to split Tibet out of China. And on
Tuesday, a Chinese court sentenced 30 people, including six Buddhist
monks, to jail terms ranging from three years to life in prison for
their alleged roles in the deadly riots.

In Monday's incident, the officer was shot as Chinese police moved,
after a one-month investigation, to arrest "an alleged riot leader" on
suspicion of inciting a Tibet independence rally on March 21, Xinhua
said. The incident, in Qinghai's Dari county, known as Darlag in the
Tibetan language, followed several protests in the area in recent weeks
by ethnic Tibetans, often on horseback, and confrontations with Chinese
security forces in military vehicles, according to the Tibetan Centre
for Human Rights and Democracy. The reports offered few details of the
specifics of the shootout.

China maintains strict gun controls but reports from Chinese police and
human rights groups suggest weapons have been a factor throughout the
crisis. Chinese authorities conceded their first use of guns just days
after the first rioting occurred in March, when authorities said they
fired on protesters in self-defense in an ethnically Tibetan area of
Sichuan province, an incident human rights groups said killed at least
eight. Elsewhere, police later said they found guns and other munitions
at a monastery in Sichuan. In mid-April, state media reported the arrest
of eight monks in connection with exploding a crude bomb.

The Tibet crisis has threatened to overshadow preparations for the
Beijing Olympics. On Wednesday, Beijing marked the 100th day until it
the start of the Games, on August 8, with ceremonies around the gleaming
new stadiums it has built to host the event. Meanwhile, the southern
city of Hong Kong welcomed the arrival of the Olympic Torch, on its
first stop on Chinese soil after a sometimes chaotic month-long
international tour that has seen repeated protests by Tibetan activists.
The torch will travel to Macau over the weekend before coming to
mainland China.

Protests remain legal in Hong Kong and authorities in the former British
colony weren't taking any chances of more disruption to the torch relay.
At least seven foreigners were deported ahead of the event, the
Associated Press reported.

But Hong Kong authorities haven't indicated whether actress Mia Farrow
will be permitted to enter the city on Thursday. She plans to raise
awareness about killings in Sudan's Darfur region and press China to use
its influence to end the violence there.

On Tuesday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu
said Ms. Farrow should herself do "something real" for the people of
Darfur. "I think Mia Farrow should deepen her knowledge and
understanding of China's active and constructive role in handling the
Darfur issue."

--Peter Wonacott in New Delhi contributed to this article.
Write to James T. Areddy at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank