The Times Online is reporting that Chinese military personnel opened fire on a large group of monks and villagers, killing eight, and wounding dozens more, following a protest in the Sichuan Province.
According to the report, yesterday a Chinese Government officials entered the Donggu monastery to confiscate all pictures of the Dalai Lama, as well as all mobile phones. They went from room to room in the massive 15th century monastery, searching each one. When they found photos, they began to tear them up, which prompted a 74 year old monk named Cicheng Danzeng to try to stop them, as the act was seen as a desecration of the Dalai Lama. Cicheng Pingcuo, a 25 year old monk also made a stand and the inspection ended with both men being arrested.
Later in the evening, many monks and villagers marched to the camp of the paramilitary Chinese forces to demand that the two men be released. The protest lasted well into the night, when a large group of soldiers, the article says as many as 1000, opened fire on the hundreds who had gathered there. At least 8 were killed in the fighting, with many more injured, and ten people still missing.
Today, all communication to the region has been cut off and paramilitary units are said to be patrolling the street and have the monastery surrounded, making it impossible to determine what is happening there, and if more violence has erupted since. This show of force follows the recent unrest in Tibet itself, where it is rumored that possibly hundreds more have been killed.
China had intended to re-open the borders of Tibet on May 1, allowing foreigners to once again come to Lhasa, the countries capital. No word if that schedule has been changed with this recent round of protests. The continued unrest in the region has also given China a black eye as we draw closer to the Summer Olympics in Beijing this August.
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