Headline News


Official: more than 2,200 people surrender to police after Gannan riots

Source: Xinhua | 04-10-2008 09:20

Special Report:   3.14 Tibet Riots

LANZHOU, April 9 (Xinhua) -- A total of 2,204 people, including 519 monks, have surrendered to police in connection with riots in an ethnic Tibetan area of northwestern China last month, an official said on Wednesday.

Police had released 1,870 of those people, including 413 monks, who were guilty of minor offenses, said Mao Shengwu, acting chief of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

Police had formally arrested eight people suspected of participating in the riots and put another 432, including 170 monks, in temporary custody, Mao told a group of Chinese and foreign journalists.

Some suspects were being interrogated according to law, but some people wanted in connection with the riots were yet to be found, Mao said.

Core participants in the riots bound black strips of cloth to their foreheads and arms, which showed the activities were organized, Mao said.

"Judging from some cases, the rioters communicated with not only each other within the country, but also separatists based in foreign countries."

The official said the local government would reveal the investigation results in due course.

The situation in the prefecture had been brought under control and normal public life had resumed, Mao said. However, he said the prefecture would open to foreign tourists and journalists only when it was considered safe to do so as a handful of rioters were still at large.

"We will open to foreign tourists and journalists in time when social order is fully restored."

The prefectural government has decided to exempt affected businesses from taxes and provide free seed for farmers, among other measures to help local economy recover, said Mao.

A group of more than 20 Chinese and foreign journalists, organized by the Information Office of China's State Council, arrived in Gannan on Wednesday for a four-day trip.

They were scheduled to visit Xiahe, Hezuo, Maqu and Luqu, the areas worst affected by the riots and interview residents, living Buddhas, and government officials.

On Wednesday morning, they interviewed Jamyang Losang Jigme Tubdain Qoigyi Nyima, vice president of the Tibetan Chapter of the Buddhist Association of China, who said the destruction in Gannan was the blatant exposure of separatism and insanity.

Later a tour of Labrang Monastery was interrupted by a group of lamas, but soon resumed.

About 20 lamas rushed out of a building of the temple in Xiahe, and gathered in plaza in front of the journalists at around 12:30 p.m..

The lamas left the site of their own accord about five minutes later as reporters resumed their tour of the lamasery.

From March 14 to 19, assaults, vandalism, looting and arson occurred in the Xiahe, Maqu, Luqu, Jone, Hezuo and Diebu areas of Gannan, leaving 94 people injured and incurring 230 million yuan (32.8 million U.S. dollars) in damages.

The injured included 64 police, 27 armed police, two government officials and one civilian, according to local government.


Editor:Zhang Ning