Anti-chinese have been given until Monday to surrender, after ten people have been confirmed killed by the authorities in Tibet, during a riot in the capital, Lhasa.
Even though a top government official said the city was not under martial law, witnesses said tanks were on the streets on Saturday, after protests against China’s controversial rule in the region triggered violence a day earlier.
“I saw tanks and armoured personnel carriers patrolling the streets. They block every intersection to check vehicles“ said a Chinese resident. Danish tourist Bente Walle told Reuters news agency “Lhasa is completely closed and there is Chinese military all over.“
The head of Tibet’s government warned : “the plot of the separatists will fail.“
The Tibetan government, quoted by the state-run news agency Xinhua, urged “the lawbreakers to give themselves in by Monday midnight” and promised that “leniency would be given to those who surrender”.
The worst violence Tibet has known since 1989 erupted on the fifth day of largely peaceful protests, began on Monday’s anniversary of a 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.
Don’t resort to violence
The fires started near the Jokhang temple, one of the most sacred sites of Tibetan Buddhist. Those demonstrations were initially led by Buddhist monks, like those in Burma last September, then attracted crowds of ordinary people.
According to Chinese officials, the riots had been “organised, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique.” Tibet’s exiled political leader, the Dalai Lama denied it and in a statement issued from his base in Dharamsala he urged China to “address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue.” He added “I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.”
These events in Tibet provoked fresh protests in the neighbouring Chinese province of Gansu, that has a large ethnic Tibetan population.
Western countries have expressed concern at the clashes. US officials called on the Chinese to act with restraint. Tibetan exiles in several countries, like Australia and India, held demonstrations.
In Sydney four people have been arrested. Local television reported that the protesters removed the Chinese national flag from the consulate and tried to replace it with a Tibetan flag.