Chinese policeman, Tibetan insurgent killed in gun battle

Other News Materials 30 April 2008 10:37 (UTC +04:00)

An alleged Tibetan insurgent and a policeman were killed in a gun fight in the western Chinese province Qinghai, according to a report Wednesday by the official news agency Xinhua.

It is the first official confirmation since the March unrest in Tibetan regions that a Tibetan was killed by police gunfire, dpa reported.

Tibetan separatists who allegedly attempted to incite local herdsman to riot in western Hongke Town in Dari on March 21 were tracked down by police a month later, the report said.

On Monday the police moved to arrest the suspected leader who "resisted arrest and gunfire broke out," Xinhua reported.

"The officer was killed in the gun battle, and other officers returned fire, killing the suspect," reported Xinhua.

The police officer, identified by Xinhua as ethnic Tibetan Lama Cedain, died of his wounds on Monday morning. The suspect was not named.

Protests against Chinese rule in Tibet escalated into rioting on March 14 in Lhasa, where shops belonging to ethnic Han Chinese were looted and set on fire.

The Chinese government said 18 civilians and a police officer were killed in the rioting in Lhasa, but the Tibetan government in exile said about 140 people were killed in the demonstrations and Chinese crackdown, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.

Chinese authorities had previously insisted they had not killed anyone in the crackdown and blamed Tibetan "rioters" for the deaths of the 18 civilians.

On Tuesday, China sentenced 30 defendants for terms ranging from three years to life in prison for participating in the March riots in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.