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Separatists sparked violence in Sichuan: China

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 14:09

Beijing: Rock-wielding Tibetan separatists who
attacked police stations are responsible for sparking last week`s deadly violence in Sichuan, the Chinese government said Wednesday in its first detailed account of the unrest.

The government-run China Daily newspaper quoted
extensively from a Sichuan government statement that said two
Tibetan rioters were killed and 24 police and firefighters
were injured in two clashes.

The account differs from those of Tibetan support groups
outside the country who say police fired on protesters in
three separate areas, killing at least six Tibetans.

According to the report, the Sichuan government said the
first violence broke out January 23 in Luhuo county when a
group of separatists armed with rocks, batons and blades
marched along a street shouting `Tibetan independence` before
trying to storm a police station.

It said the rioters attacked police cars, broke the
windows of the police station and tried to steal guns from
armed police officers.

The paper quoted the government as saying "the officers
were forced to take actions to defend themselves according to
the law."

"No country governed by law would tolerate such violence
directed against police and aimed at separating the country,"
it said.

By the government`s account, 10 officers and firefighters were injured and one rioter was killed in the first incident.

The next day in Sichuan`s Seda county, it said, another
group attacked a police station with molotov cocktails. It
said one rioter was killed "after the police fought back." The
report didn`t say if police opened fire.

"Evidence shows that the violent attacks ... were long
plotted by separatist forces," the paper quoted the government
as saying.

The article also said separatists have been trying to stir
up unrest in the area and have "asked and encouraged monks to
commit suicide by self-immolation."

For the past year, self-immolations have become a striking
form of protest in the region. At least 16 monks, nuns and
former clergy set themselves on fire after chanting for
Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled to
India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.


First Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 14:09
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