A new Human Rights Watch report criticizes the Chinese government’s response to the 2008 Tibet riots. From the New York Times:
The report, released on Wednesday night, said security officers, mostly ethnic Han members of the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary branch charged with domestic security, used disproportionate force in trying to control Tibetans, including against women, teenagers, monks and nuns.
In at least three cases, security officers fired live ammunition into crowds and killed people, the report said, citing witness accounts. In several protests, security forces used batons or other weapons to beat unarmed protesters until they were bloody and motionless, the report said. Hundreds of detainees remain missing.
The report also traced the origins of the deadly ethnic rioting in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to brutal attempts by security forces to suppress a peaceful protest by monks on March 10, four days before the riots broke out.
In a faxed statement to the Washington Post, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang refutes a number of the claims made in the HRW report:
In response, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, in a statement faxed to The Washington Post in Beijing, said Human Rights Watch “always has prejudice toward China.”
“It was absolutely not so-called ‘peaceful protest’ or ‘non violence’ behavior, but severe violent crimes, which caused serious loss to the lives and property of the local people and destroyed the order of the local society seriously,” Qin said.
Qin said the security forces in Tibet acted “in accordance with the law and in a civilized manner from the beginning to the end.” He added, “The judicial rights of the defendants were fully guaranteed, as well as their ethnic customs and personal dignity. This is the fact.”