Canadian tourists tell of atrocities by rioters in Lhasa

14:44, March 21, 2008

Three Canadian tourists who had been in Lhasa have told of the atrocities committed by rioters last Friday in Lhasa, Tibet, Canada's newspaper The Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

John Kenwood, 19, from Victoria B.C., said that he witnessed a motorcyclist "being pummelled unconscious by a mob hurling chunks of pavement as big as bricks."

Kenwood said he saw the man drenched in blood after being beaten by "15 men carrying what appeared to be two-meter long, silver poles."

The Canadian youth also said that Lhasa's main street, Beijing Road, was "strewn with garbage and the burnt-out hulks of torched vehicles."

Susan Wetmore, another Canadian tourist who had been stranded in the chaos, said some of what she had seen in Tibet "was pretty ugly... pretty ugly."

The 59-year old consultant said she was so grateful to a Chinese cab driver "who literally risked his life" to get her to Lhasa's Gonggar airport.

Despite the shocks and fears they experienced in Tibet, all the tourists told The Toronto Star that they were taken good care of by the Chinese government and local Tibetan people.

The Toronto Star also carried a story of a Canadian tourist rescuing a young man from the hands of the mob.

The rescuer, Justin Winfield from Toronto, said he saw a crowd of rioters beating a young man and two women.

Winfield said he intervened and the angry mobs stopped their attack, but the man was already unconscious, lying on the ground.

He then lifted the man to his feet, and helped him stumble toward a hospital. He took along the two young women, one of whom had lost several teeth.

At the hospital, Winfield said, he saw half a dozen victims with cuts and bruises from beatings.

On the way back to his hotel, he saw at least 15 stores burned or damaged. "They torched the roof of the store across from us. It's just a few gutted walls," he said.

On March 14, riots involving beating, smashing, looting and burning broke peace in Lhasa.

Rioters set fires at more than 300 locations, including residences and 214 shops, smashed and burned 56 vehicles, and attacked schools, banks, hospitals, shops, government offices, utilities and state media offices.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Tuesday that the Lhasa riot was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai Lama clique, which exposed once again the separatist nature of the Dalai Lama clique and the hypocritical and fraudulent nature of its so-called "peace" and "non-violence" claims.

Source: Xinhua

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