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Governor denies use of lethal force in Lhasa riot
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Tibet's governor has denied the use of lethal force in dealing with Friday's violence in Lhasa and said that he is furiously "indignant" over the Dalai clique's distortion of what had happened. He made the comments at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

"Throughout the process, [security forces] did not carry or use any destructive weapons, but tear gas and water cannons were employed," Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, said.

He told reporters: "We did so in order to maintain social stability, to defend the nation's legal system and to safeguard the people's fundamental interest."

The Tibetan official updated the death toll from the unrest to 13, up from the previous official figure of 10.

"Thirteen innocent civilians were killed. Some were hacked and burned to death and some others suffocated in fires," he said, adding that some media reports on the death toll, ranging from 30 to 80, were exaggerated.

"The ways the mob acted were extremely atrocious and brutal," he said, citing such reported incidents as pouring gasoline onto people who were then set on fire and cutting a piece of flesh out of a policeman's body.

Reportedly, 61 police have been injured, six seriously. Three persons are said to have jumped off buildings as they sought to avoid arrest.

The official said that throughout the incident, public security personnel and armed police exercised restraint and showed great professional spirit and adherence to the law.

On March 14, violence involving fighting, destruction of property, looting and arson broke out in urban Lhasa.

The riot, which authorities said had been planned and directed by the Dalai Lama's backers, had not only caused heavy losses of life and property in the city but also seriously disturbed social order.

Rioters set fires at more than 300 locations, including residences and 214 shops, smashed and burned 56 vehicles, and attacked schools, banks, hospitals, shops, government offices, utilities and state media offices, officials said.

"A handful of separatists and lawbreakers undertook extreme acts with the goal of generating publicity to wreck the hard-earned stability during this crucial period of the Beijing Olympic Games," he said later.

The regional government immediately organized task forces to put out the fires and rescue the injured and strengthened protection of hospitals, schools, banks and government offices.

Law enforcement authorities in Tibet issued a notice on Saturday that urged participants in the violence to surrender by Monday at midnight and promised leniency for those who surrendered.

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