Western tourists recount riots in Lhasa

14:44, March 21, 2008

Four Western tourists who visited Tibet and witnessed the recent riots in Tibet recounted the ferocity in a story carried by the British daily The Times on Wednesday.

Entitled "They got him in the head. He was down on the ground, not moving," the story quoted a Swiss tourist as saying that he saw the mob beating an old man on a bicycle.

"They were howling like wolves," said Claude Balsiger. "That's the point when it went insane."

He also described seeing a Canadian tourist step in to rescue a young man being attacked by the crowd.

"They were kicking him in the ribs and he was bleeding from the face," he said. "But then a white man walked up... helped him up from the ground."

Stephen Thompson, 41, from New Zealand, said that he arrived at the Saikang Hotel just as the riot was starting and saw the mob smash the glass front of the building.

"We didn't feel in danger but some people in the group were pretty emotional and one person was injured by a rock that hit them on the head," he said.

Martin Camps, 55, from Germany, said that he had arrived in Lhasa with his wife on the train from Beijing on last Friday, but all attractions were shut down because of the riot.

John Kenwood, a 19-year-old backpacker from Canada who spent 10 days in Lhasa, gave a similar account of the violence.

He said that he saw at least five people being attacked by the mob, including a motorcyclist in his 20s who he thought was beaten to death.

"They got him in the head with a large piece of sidewalk," he said. "He was down on the ground and he was not moving."

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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