(TibetanReview.net, Nov 27, 2008) — China claimed to have released more than 1,000 people allegedly involved in the Mar 14 riot in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, without explaining why, when and how and under what conditions. “Most of the released rioters had turned themselves in right after the riot,” China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 26 quoted Zhu Weiqun, deputy head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee as having said in a recent interview with BBC, citing the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Large numbers of Tibetans were reported to have had been taken into custody indiscriminately from the streets, markets and their homes in the aftermath of the protests which engulfed Lhasa on Mar 14. The protests turned violent at a couple or so of places. China sealed the city and, indeed, the whole of Tibet, to prevent news about the protest from being reported in the outside world. It then pleaded with the international community to accept only its version of the events as true. Many western journalists in Beijing were targeted and threatened by Chinese nationalists, instigated by Beijing, for reporting on the situation in Tibet on the basis of reports from unofficial sources.
“Many people died in the March 14 Lhasa riot,” Zhu has said. But he was referring only to the 19 people, including an armed policeman, who died in the riots, not the hundreds of Tibetans killed in the army and armed police crackdown.
Zhu has also said that most Tibetans living abroad were against violence and hoped for a better living environment and closer ties with Tibet. “The government sponsors nearly 3,000 Tibetans abroad to visit their hometown each year… and they would feel worried about their safety if there’s violence in Tibet.” he was, apparently referring to the Tibetan exile it allows in as overseas Chinese without charging visa fees and after careful scrutiny of their antecedents.