Altercation Escalates into Ethnic Riot in Rural Tibet

November 26, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The News

An altercation between a Han Chinese shop owner and Tibetan monks in rural Tibet escalated into an ethnic riot, a source with knowledge of the incident said on Sunday, the latest sign of discontent in the unsettled region.

The riot began after three Buddhist monks from the Baiga temple in Tibet’s Naqu district got into a scuffle with the shop owner. When police arrested the monks, but not the shop owner, anger flared. “The Han owner, he attacked the monks first,” the Beijing-based source, familiar with Tibetan affairs, said of the incident which happened last week.

The monks were taken from the local police station to the county Public Security Bureau, where they claimed they were beaten.

Hundreds of herdsmen went to the bureau to demand their release, and when their demands went unmet, they began smashing shops owned by Han Chinese.

The estimated 600 herdsmen also attacked the police who initially arrested the monks and smashed cars and government offices.