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Total jailed over Lhasa violence rises to 30
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A further 13 people were sentenced on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the number of people imprisoned at present for involvement in the March 14 riot to 30, said a Lhasa court.

An open court session in connection with the Lhasa violence on March 14 is held at the Intermediate People's Court of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, April 29, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

An open court session in connection with the Lhasa violence
on March 14 is held at the Intermediate People's Court of 
Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region,
April 29, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Three of the 30 were sentenced to life and the shortest jail term was three years, according to the Intermediate People's Court of Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, which passed down the sentences at an public court session which started on Tuesday morning.

Soi'nam Cering, a driver with a Lhasa real estate company, formerly mis-reported as Soi'nam Norbu, Basang, a monk, and Cering, a businessman, were sentenced to life, the court said.

The 30-year-old Cering was a businessman in Lingzhou County, about 70 kilometers from the seat of Lhasa. He was convicted of inciting others to commit arson and looting of shops and vehicles during riots in the county on March 15 and 16.

His instigation was described as a major cause of the persistent unrest in Lingzhou County.

Soi'nam Cering, born in 1988, was one of the mobs who burnt vehicles in a square near the Johkang Monastery, smashed police stations and fire engines with stones, and assaulted firemen during the riot that broke out in downtown Lhasa on March 14.

"He was convicted of arson and disrupting public services," the court said in a press release.

Basang, a monk from Doilungdeqen County in Lhasa, led 10 people -- including five monks -- to destroy the local government office, smash or burn down 11 shops and rob their valuables, and attack policemen on duty, it said.

Of the five monks who followed Basang, two were sentenced to 20 years and the other three to 15 years.

The Lhasa violence left seven schools, five hospitals and 120 homes torched and 908 shops looted. Total damage was more than 244 million yuan (35 million U.S. dollars).

A total of 18 innocent civilians and one police officer died in the riot, in addition to 382 injured civilians and 241 policemen.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2008)

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