Security tightened as March protesters sentenced in Xiahe


(, Nov 25) — Chinese paramilitary police with riot shields and batons abruptly took up posts on Nov 24 on the main street of Xiahe (Tibetan: Sangchu) County in Gansu Province, disrupting the bustle of Buddhist pilgrims as a local court sentenced a group of Tibetans for taking part in large anti-government protests in the town in Mar’08, reported AP Nov 25. The verdicts were not publicly announced, the report said.

Security was reported to be tight. Helmeted police with truncheons and six-foot-long poles stood outside the courthouse and government buildings. At a checkpoint with sandbags chest high on a bridge, uniformed officers studied identification papers and stopped all but a few dozen vehicles from entering the one-street town, the report added.

The security arrangement was part of reminder that China was determined to control Tibet with naked force. In a change of tactics, the authorities were reported to suddenly dismantle checkpoints and guard posts which had stood for months, only to put them back without warning days later. The Nov 24 police action in Xiahe came after several weeks in which riot squads had rarely been seen on the streets, a resident was cited as saying.

The report said a court officer confirmed that those on trial had participated in the March demonstrations, in which hundreds of monks marched through town, but declined to specify the number of defendants or their sentences.


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