The following is a statement of the Chinese officials on the violent disturbances in Tibet as disseminated by the official Hsinhua news agency early on the morning of March 15,2008:
The government of Tibet Autonomous Region said Friday there had been enough evidence to prove that the recent sabotage in Lhasa was “organized, premeditated and masterminded” by the Dalai clique.
The violence, involving beating, smashing, looting and burning, has disrupted the public order and jeopardized people’s lives and property, an official with the regional government said.
The sabotage has aroused indignation of and is strongly condemned by the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, he said in an interview with Xinhua.
“The relevant departments of the regional government are taking effective measures to properly handle the incident in line with the law,” he said.
“We are fully capable of maintaining social stability of Tibet and safeguarding the safety of the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet and their properties,” said the official.
“The plots by the very few people against the stability and harmony of Tibet run counter to the will of the people, and are doomed to fail,” he said.
Shops were set on fire in violence in downtown Lhasa on Friday afternoon. There were injuries reported in the violence and the injured have been hospitalized.
Witnesses said a number of shops along two main streets in this capital city and around Jokhang Temple, Ramogia Monastery, Chomsigkang Market were set on fire around 2 p.m., sending out dense smoke. Some vehicles were burnt down.
All shops close to the Jokhang Temple and Ramogia Monastery shut down business.
According to sources, the public order has basically returned normal in downtown Lhasa by press time, with electricity and telecommunication resumed in many areas.
(The writer, Mr.B.Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat. Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com)