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Monks died in 'house collapse'
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Two monks were killed and four others injured when a house in the northern section of the Gengqing Temple in Dege county collapsed on July 12.

The county lies in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province. The house collapsed while the six monks were having lunch in a cultural relics storeroom on the first floor.

Rescuers rushed to the scene and pulled the monks out of the rubble. Two were fatally injured.

The others are in hospital, but are out of danger, Wang Jian, deputy chief of the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture police bureau, said.

The temple houses 210 monks and has many cultural relics, Wang said.

The collapse was caused by an explosion. An electrical short-circuit ignited some "black powder" stored in the house, Wang said.

He said the temple had violated safety rules in storing the powder used in Buddhist rituals.

The temple had since handed over 716 kg of the powder and 29 old shotguns to the police.

Zhao Ying, executive deputy chief of the information office of the Sichuan provincial government, refuted a report carried by London-based The Times on Friday that the two monks were shot dead by police.

Investigations showed there was no clash between the monks and police on July 12 in temples throughout Ganzi, Zhao said.

The Times report was based on information given by three anonymous Tibetans, the Xinhua News Agency said.

(China Daily July 24, 2008)

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