Journalist Claims Chinese Killed Hundreds of Tibetans Last Year

From Associated Press

A former Chinese functionary claims that security forces killed more than 450 Tibetans in the capital of Lhasa in 1989, the Observer newspaper reported.

The Chinese government has reported that about a dozen people were killed March 5 and 6 of last year, the London newspaper said in its Sunday edition.

The Observer's report was based on films and documents supplied by Tang Daxian, a former Chinese journalist now living in Paris.

It said Tang had a copy of a report from the Public Security Bureau and the Tibet Military District Command dated March 11, which said that by then, 469 Lhasa citizens and religious people had been killed.

Tang, 36, was in Tibet representing the Chinese Journalists' Assn., the State Council, the United Front Department and other government offices, the newspaper said.

Tang said he left Beijing in May, 1989, after being warned that he might be arrested for furnishing high-level information to demonstrators in Tian An Men Square.

The Observer said Tang's father, Tang Hai, once headed the Tibet section of the United Front Department, which supervises non-Communist organizations.

Tang said Chinese authorities were alarmed when a Tibetan flag was flown above the Jokhang temple in Lhasa on Feb. 7, 1989, and the crackdown culminated in the bloodshed of early March.

On March 5, Tang said, police dressed as civilians set a prayer pole afire at the Jokhang temple and police shot and killed eight people among an outraged crowd that gathered.

On March 6, Tang said, police made an advance on a crowd, but retreated under a barrage of stones. He said Tibetans charged after them, straight into an ambush set up by police firing automatic weapons from rooftops.

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