Special report: Dalai's separatist activities condemned
by Xinhua writers Lou Chen, Yi Ling
LHASA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The outbreak of violence died down in
Lhasa Friday night, after a tumultuous day that saw windows smashed, shops
robbed, mosque burnt down and reportedly many casualties.
Witnesses said the unrest started around 1:10 p.m. on Friday, several
people clashed with and stoned the local police around the Ramogia Monastery in
Rioters began gathering around 2 p.m. around the Ramogia Monastery,
and set fire to shops along two main streets in the capital, and around Jokhang
Temple, Ramogia Monastery and Chomsigkang Market. At least five blazing spots
were reported and dense smoke was seen blanketing the area.
A number of shops, banks and hotels were burnt, causing blackouts and
interruption of communications in some areas. Shops close to the Jokhang Temple
and Ramogia Monastery were shut down.
A Tibetan government official told Xinhua that there had been enough
evidence to prove that the sabotage in Lhasa was "organized, premeditated and
masterminded" by the Dalai clique.
The violence, involving beating, smashing, looting and burning, has
disrupted the public order and jeopardized people's lives and property, the
Xinhua reporters in Lhasa saw many rioters were carrying backpacks
filled with stones and bottles of inflammable liquids, some holding iron bars,
wooden sticks and long knifes, a sign that the crowd came fully prepared and
The mobs assaulted passersby, sparing no women or children, witnesses
said. They hit at things along their path, smashing windows, automatic teller
machines and traffic lights. Several clothing shops, restaurants, and mobile
phone stores were looted. Bikes, motorcycles and cars were burnt down.
The vandals started burning the local Sifang Supermarket, Landun
Shopping Mall and Wenzhou Mall around 3:00 p.m. Friday, causing more blazing
spots. A Muslim mosque was also set on fire at around 8:30 p.m..
There were injuries reported in the violence and the wounded were
sent to the hospital. People were also seen burnt by the attackers. But death
toll is not yet available.
Sources told Xinhua that policemen were ordered not to use force
against the attacker. But they were forced to use a limited amount of tear gas
and fired warning shots to disperse the desperate crowds.
Xinhua reporters learnt that many policemen on duty were badly
Police have not made any announcement of arrest, but an officer said
the search for the vandals could be difficult as the mobs disguised themselves
in plain clothes as ordinary citizens.
Around midnight, fire-fighters and policemen were cleaning the
burning wreckages discarded on the Beijing Middle Road, one of the main streets
in downtown Lhasa.
Police cordoned off a few downtown sections and are on close lookout
for comeback of violence.
The regional government took emergency measures to rescue residents
under attack, reinforced protection for schools, hospitals and gas stations, and
required the government agencies and businesses to ensure safety of their
Local government imposed traffic control on the main streets in Lhasa
Friday night and it also informed the citizens of the sabotage through TV,
calling for them to take precautions.
A blogger who called himself Han Jingshan, a Lhasa resident, recalled
the sabotage in a post titled Four-hour Personal Experience of Lhasa's Riots.
The man drove a car onto the streets in the afternoon only to find
flames with heavy smoke blanketing the area of the Ramogia Monastery and
ambulances whistling by, according to the post.
"Arriving at the road entrance to the Ramogia Monastery, I saw the
ground was covered with rocks weighing one or two kilograms and a cab was burnt
down," he wrote.
"I saw a dozen of mobs, mainly young people in their twenties, were
burning cars in front of the Baiyi Supermarket with more than 200 people
standing by and watching," he said.
"At 17:56, a police car arrived and the mobs ran away. The police
didn't chase them as another two cabs were on fire at the New Jiangsu Avenue
some 300 meters ahead."
"At this time, a Han Chinese women, whose face was bleeding, ran by
me and later a cab with broken windows passed by," he wrote.
"The history of Tibet and even of China will remember the day of
March 14 in 2008 forever," the writer said.
(With reporting by Xinhua correspondents in