China Cracks Down in Tibet and Beyond as Protests Spread
By Mark Magnier
The Los Angeles Times
Sunday 16 March 2008
Chinese police pour into Lhasa and outlying areas as China scrambles to control the latest uprisings. Sympathy demonstrations are reported around the world.
Xiahe, China - The spread of protests from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to neighboring communities and now Gansu province represents a crisis for a government eager to project an image of friendly confidence and cultural refinement in advance of the Beijing Olympics.
On Saturday, a massive police presence could be seen blanketing Xiahe, a holy city outside Tibet that houses the sprawling Labrang Monastery complex, one of the most revered in Tibetan Buddhism.
By early today, the cordon in Xiahe had tightened further as English-speaking police were stopping all vehicles for miles and forcing foreigners to turn around or, if they were on local transportation, to climb down.
This followed demonstrations involving an attack on a police station by thousands of people and the raising of a banned national Tibetan flag.
Twenty people were arrested in the ensuing violence, the London-based Free Tibet Campaign said, and a local official said seven people were injured, as authorities scrambled to quell the worst protests against Chinese dominion over Tibet in two decades.
The crackdown followed efforts by authorities in Lhasa to contain six days of violence. "They are in the process of restoring order, but it is not complete," a Western aid worker living in Lhasa said.
The government has reported 10 deaths in Lhasa resulting from the protests, which it blamed on rioters setting fires. The self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile, based in India, said the figure was 30, and other estimates ran higher.
Lhasa residents reached by phone said the city was under a near state of emergency with people afraid to go out. . . .