Riots closely linked with Lhasa unrest
Riots in Tibetan-inhabited areas closely
linked with Lhasa unrest, officials say
This story issued by the Chinese Embassy, New Zealand. For more, See: China View
BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Riots in Tibetan-inhabited areas in the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, both neighboring Tibet, were closely linked with Friday's deadly unrest in Lhasa and coordinated by the Dalai clique, local government officials said.
The mountainous Aba county in northwestern Sichuan saw mobsters attacking shops and government offices on Sunday afternoon, while the counties of Xiahe, Maqu, Luqu and Jone and the Hezuo City in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu also witnessed similar unrests from Saturday onwards.
In both two provinces, rioters, shouting slogans of "Tibet Independence", carrying rocks and self-made petrol bombs or waving the flag of "Tibetan-government-in-exile", stormed into government offices, police stations, hospitals, schools, shops and markets.
Reportedly, police officers and government staffs were injured by the rioters.
"The series of riotous activities were not coincidental, but coordinated and closely linked with the unrest in Lhasa," said Zhang Yusheng, a spokesman with the Gansu provincial government on Wednesday.
"These sabotages were well-organized and premeditated, and their roots were in the Dalai Lama Clique, whose ulterior motive was to disturb the Beijing Olympics, destroy the peace and stability and split the country," he said.
Sources with the Gansu government said pamphlets containing "Tibetan independence" contents were in already circulation in the Gannan area on March 10, the same day a "March to Tibet" was organized from across the border in India, and exactly the same day when 300 aggressive monks from the Drepung Monastery paraded into downtown Lhasa.
Sources also told Xinhua that some of the mobsters were visiting monks who were staying at a lamasery in Gannan.
"Judging from all the signs, the destruction was organized and fanned by separatists inside China and abroad to undermine social order," said Mao Shengwu, head of the Gannan prefecture, where eight policemen and three government employees were injured.
Local governments have taken actions to maintain social order and protect the safety of the people after the riots occurred. They also stepped up protection of hospitals, schools, banks and government agencies, said Zhang Yusheng.
"Police officers and armed police forces exercised massive restraint and handled the incident according to the law," he said.
Social order in the affected-counties is returning to normal, however, local residents said they are still haunted by fears.
At the Qiangtang Street, one of the worst-hit areas in the Aba unrest in Sichuan, shop owners were seen cleaning wreckages on Wednesday morning.
Recalling the tumultuous Sunday, Peng Yongfan, owner of the Yongli Shopping Center, looked hopeless and said he lost more than five million yuan (about 707,000 U.S. dollars) of property in the commotion.
"I have nothing left now except the clothes I'm wearing," said the 54-year-old man, whose head was wrapped with gauze.
A mob of about 100 broke into Peng's shopping center at around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
"They destroyed counters with iron bars and rocks, and plundered my goods. And they poured petrol on those they could not take away and burnt them," said Feng.
The businessman brought a disfigured steel safe from the storehouse behind the shopping center, showing it to Xinhua reporters.
"I found this after the mob went away, and the 186,000 yuan of cash turned into ashes," he said.
"I have been doing business here for 18 years and my business was good. How can I've foreseen such misfortune?"
After the series of orchestrated violence, residents in Lhasa, Gannan and Aba are struggling to recover. Latest counts by the Tibetan regional government said 325 people were injured in the riot, which also claimed lives of 13 innocent civilians. The number of mobsters who surrendered to Lhasa police rose to more than 170 by 10 p.m., Wednesday.