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China charges 16 'monks' over Tibet bombings

Posted 5 hours 34 minutes ago
Tibetan monks

The monks have reportedly confessed to their involvement (AFP: File photo)

Chinese police authorities have detained and charged 16 Tibetan monks in connection with three bombings during anti-Beijing unrest in Tibet earlier this year, state media said.

Two of the bombs exploded, while the third did not go off, Xinhua news agency said. No fatalities or injuries were reported in the blasts.

The monks, who were arrested between May 12 and 13 for the bombings that took place in April in Mangkang county in Tibet's Chamdo region, have confessed to their involvement, the report said.

Six monks from the Weise temple allegedly blew up an electrical transformer on April 5, while five from Balong temple were arrested for the attempted bombing of a gas station and a police station on the same day, Xinhua said.

The third incident occurred on April 8 when five monks, also from Balong temple, allegedly blew up part of the home of a local resident, it said.

China has blamed Tibet's exiled Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of fomenting anti-Chinese violence in Tibet in March, including deadly riots that authorities say killed at least 21 people in the regional capital Lhasa.

The Tibetan Government-in-exile in India says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's crackdown on the unrest.

"During their interrogations, the police found that [the monks] had been listening to overseas broadcasts and were incited by the ethnic splittist ideology of the Dalai clique," Xinhua said.

"They were also aware of the 'Tibetan people's uprising' activities in and outside of China organised by the Dalai clique."

China uses the expression the "Dalai clique" to describe a loosely defined group of advisers close to the exiled Tibetan leader.

The announcement of the arrests came after armed police fanned out on the streets of Lhasa yesterday, coinciding with the start of a traditional religious festival.

China is fearing more unrest in the Himalayan region as ethnic Tibetans clamour for greater autonomy from Beijing ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.

The Dalai Lama has long renounced Tibetan independence and acknowledged that the Himalayan region is a part of China, but has urged greater political and religious autonomy for his homeland.
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