Riots in Lhasa
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Schools in SW China ethnic Tibetan area resume classes after riots
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21:31, March 24, 2008

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Most schools in the ethnically Tibetan Aba county in southwest China's Sichuan Province resumed classes on Monday as life returned to normal after riots earlier in the month.

More than 1,000 students and staff at Chengguan First Primary School in the county seat attended the national flag-raising ceremony at 8:40 a.m., said headmaster Han Wentian.

Han said many students came to school last Monday, just a day after the riot on March 16. However, the school administration decided to suspend classes for safety reasons.

"I was happy to hear my school would reopen. I woke up at 6 a.m. today," said 13-year-old student Zering Zhoema.

The government has exempted rural students in western regions from compulsory education fees since 2006 and provided living subsidies. "Those mobs turn a blind eye to this," said Wang Guanghui, a teacher from the Tibetan ethnic group.

In the Tibetan Language Middle School of Aba, students and teachers were cleaning classrooms on Monday morning. A student named Muji said, "I hope the rioters are brought to justice, so that we can study in peace."

Ma Mingchao, head of the educational bureau of Aba, which administers 48 schools and kindergartens, said all five schools in the county seat and most rural schools reopened on Monday.

On Sunday, about 90 percent of the shops on major streets of Aba, which sits 3,300 meters above sea level with a population of more than 60,000, reopened for business.

Restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and hairdressers were reopened. Compared with the previous week, more private cars and cabs were back on the streets. Workers in supermarkets were busy trucking in bottled water, staple foods and other commodities.

On March 16, violent mobs, some shouting Tibetan independence slogans and holding flags of the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile", attacked government offices, police stations, hospitals, schools and banks. Most shops and markets in the county were ransacked.


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