Qiangba Puncog, Tibet Autonomous Region Government Chairman, condemned the Dalai Lama clique for conspiring to create the latest riot in Lhasa, and expressed confidence in maintaining social stability and order in Tibet, during a news briefing in Beijing on March 17. [Video: Chairman says attempt to sabotage Tibet's stability doomed to fail]
At around 11:00 on March 14, according to the chairman, some monks at Ramoche Monastery attacked police officers on patrol with stones. Afterward, some rioters converged on Barkor Street and chanted separatist slogans. They engaged in reckless beating, looting, smashing and burning and their activities soon spread to other parts of the city.
These people focused on street-side shops, primary and middle schools, hospitals, banks, power and communications facilities and media organizations. They set fire to passing vehicles, they chased after and beat passengers on the street, and they launched assaults on shops, telecommunication service outlets and government buildings. Their behavior has caused severe damage to the life and property of local people, and seriously undermined law and order in Lhasa. [Video: Chinese judicial organs to deal with Lhasa rioters]
"Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death in the riot in Lhasa on March 14, and 61 police were injured, six of them seriously wounded," said Qiangba Puncog.
Statistics also show that rioters set fire to more than 300 locations, including residential houses and 214 shops, and smashed and burned 56 vehicles.
On March 10, more than 300 monks from the Zhaibung Monastery ventured into downtown Lhasa. The monks, who supposedly stood for peace, were invective and aggressive, and confronted the security forces, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
In the Sera Monastery, 10 monks held up flags of the so-called Tibetan exile government and shouted "Tibetan independence." In the ensuing days, a few monks chanted "independence" slogans and challenged officers who were maintaining order. [Video: Order restored in Lhasa]
Qiangba Puncog also claimed that security personnel did not carry or use any lethal weapons in dealing with the riot last Friday.
"In dealing with the riot, the security forces carried out their duties strictly according to law and in a civil manner", said Qiangba Puncog.
The violence was the result of a conspiracy between domestic and overseas groups that advocate "Tibet independence," according to Qiangba Puncog. "The Dalai clique masterminded, planned and carefully organized the riot," Qiangba Puncog said.
According to Qiangba Puncog, on March 10, 49 years ago, the slave owners of old Tibet launched an armed rebellion aimed at splitting the country. That rebellion was quickly quelled. Every year since 1959, some separatists inside and outside China have held activities around the day of the rebellion.
The Tibetan government chief expressed confidence in maintaining social stability and order under the leadership of the Chinese Central Government, saying the Tibetans will firmly fight against separatist efforts, and safeguard the unified motherland.
Any secessionist attempt to sabotage Tibet's stability will not gain people's support and is doomed to fail, he said.
"What confused me and made me indignant was that the Dalai clique and some Westerners labeled the destructive rampage of the rioters as ‘peaceful protests,' but called our actions to deal with the brutal acts committed by the rioters as ‘repressing peaceful protests,' said Qiangba Puncog.
"I think that just confuses black with white."
Other related videos:
•Lhasa Mayor: Calm returns to Lhasa
•No new violence in Lhasa
•Dalai-backed violence scars Lhasa
(Beijing Review March 17, 2008)