A Tibetan-inhabited region of China appeared to be under lockdown Thursday after it was rocked by deadly clashes, as exile groups gave grisly details of how the unrest unfolded.
The west of Sichuan province, which has big populations of ethnic Tibetans, many of whom complain of repression, was earlier this week hit by some of the worst unrest since huge protests against Chinese rule in 2008.
Security forces fired into two separate crowds of protesters on Monday and Tuesday in the remote prefecture of Ganzi, which borders Tibet, killing at least two people and wounding several others.
By Thursday, affected areas in Ganzi appeared to be under lockdown. Phone calls would not go through, the Internet was cut off and people’s movements restricted as police poured into the region, locals and advocacy groups said.
The official Xinhua news agency, citing local authorities, said one “rioter” was killed and another injured and that police had to resort to lethal force after a violent mob attacked them with knives, gasoline bottles and guns.
ICT, however, had a different version of events. It said hundreds of Tibetans had gathered peacefully on the town square and that after some time, armed police fired tear gas and started shooting into the crowd.
“Tibetans were running everywhere to escape… Some couldn’t run away because they were too seriously injured,” the group quoted an exile source with contacts in the area as saying.
Other sources said the square was “covered in blood” with tear gas canisters scattered in the street after the shooting.
The incident came a day after police shot at a crowd of Tibetans protesting against religious repression in the nearby town of Luhuo, killing at least two and wounding more than 30, locals and rights groups said.
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