Xinhua cited sources from the police in the report of the shooting of four protesters on Sunday, March 16. It is the first time that China has admitted to shooting at the protesters. However, the Chinese government has said that the officers shot at the anti-Chinese protesters in “self-defense.”
However, the government adds that they had arrested many protesters. Recently, 105 people involved with the protests in Lhasa have turned themselves in. Many more arrests should follow after. In a recent follow up, China had blanketed Tibet with more troops to suppress the demonstrations.
These demonstrations come less than two weeks before the start of the Olympic Torch relay which begins in Tibet. It is already known that Tibet is one of the major issues looming over the future of the Olympics in Beijing.
China’s crackdown has been criticized by the international community. The International Olympic Community (IOC) has urged nations not to boycott the games over what is going on in Tibet. Many Tibet independence groups plan to stage protests at the Beijing Games to take advantage of the free press.
Elie Wiesel along with other Nobel laureates had brought forth condemnation towards China for the crackdown on Tibet.
The Dalai Lama accused China of committing “cultural genocide.”
However, China’s Premiere Wen Jiabao fired back accusing the Dalai Lama of starting the violence. He said that the Dalai Lama’s accusation was nothing but a pack of lies. In addition, Wen accused the Dalai Lama of trying to ruin the Olympics in Beijing this coming August.
There is also the debate over death toll. The Chinese government said that 13 were killed by the protesters. The Tibetan exiles say differently and explain that at least 100 were killed by the police.