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Opening Statement on the Incident of Beating, Destruction of Property, Looting and Arson in Lhasa

In the past few days, a handful of people committed highly violent crimes in Lhasa, including beating, smashing up properties, looting and arson. The rioters set fire at more than 300 sites. Shops and private residences totaling 214 rooms were burned down. Fifty-six private and police vehicles were burned and destroyed. Thirteen innocent civilians were either burned or slashed to death. Sixty-one policemen and armed policemen were injured and six of them were severely injured. These violent acts seriously disrupted public order, inflicted heavy losses of lives and property and aroused strong indignation and condemnation from people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.

The Dalai clique and some westerners have called the violent crimes "peaceful protest" and described our handling of the incident, which had seriously jeopardized the life and property of the local people and undermined public order in Lhasa, "suppression of peaceful protest". These people are confounding black and white. Would any democratic government under the rule of law tolerate such violence as we have seen in Lhasa?

There is sufficient evidence that this incident was premeditated, organized and instigated by the separatist forces for Tibetan independence both in and outside China acting in collusion. There sinister intention is to create turbulences in a sensitive period, escalate confrontation and even cause bloodshed, so as to exert pressure on the Chinese Government, disrupt the Beijing Olympic Games and undermine order, stability and harmony in China.

To safeguard law and order and ensure the safety of lives and property, the relevant departments of the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China took measures to resolve the incident in accordance with the law. The measure taken were legally justified and won wholehearted support of the general public.

The Chinese Government is fully capable of maintaining social stability and protecting the lives and property of all ethnic groups in Tibet. The attempts made by the Dalai clique to undermine stability and harmony in Tibet run counter to the will of the people and are doomed to failure.

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