Boisterous violence in Lhasa, capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has left 12 policemen and servicemen of the armed police gravely injured, in addition to deaths of 10 civilians.
Zhang Yijiong, deputy Party secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, said at an assembly of local officials in Tibet on Saturday evening that two of them were in critical situation.
Rioters set fire to 22 buildings, burnt down dozens of police and private vehicles and looted banks, schools and shops in a plotted unrest in the regional capital on Friday. At least 10 civilians died, mostly from burns.
A tourist surnamed Dong, who traveled to Lhasa and stayed at a hotel along the Bargor street, one of the major sites hit by violence, told Xinhua on Sunday that he was deeply disturbed by what he saw. "The protesters were barbarous and violent. They ganged up on the young police officers and beat innocent people.
"I saw reports online saying the policemen were using brutal force to confront the protesters. That was not true. I saw with my own eyes that throughout the riot, the policemen exercised great restraint," he said.
A Lhasa resident named Han Jingshan said the policemen, most in their twenties, were told not to hit back when they were attacked. "Some of the officers were hard hit by the riot and were bleeding badly," he said.
The government of Tibet Autonomous Region said Friday they had hard evidence to prove that the sabotage in Lhasa was "organized, premeditated and masterminded" by the Dalai clique.
Witnesses said the vandals came apparently fully prepared. Some were holding iron rods, knives and wooden bars, and there were several people carrying backpacks filled with stones and bottles of inflammable liquids.
(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2008)