(AFP) – Mar 28, 2009
BEIJING (AFP) — A police station in a part of northwestern China near Tibetan-populated areas was attacked early on Sunday, leaving two police officers hurt, state media reported.
The brief dispatch by Xinhua news agency said the incident occurred in Xining, capital of Qinghai province, which neighbours Tibet and has a substantial Tibetan population.
It gave no other details besides saying the incident was under investigation.
The report comes amid a heavy security crackdown in Tibet and adjacent Tibetan areas to prevent unrest during this month's 50th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule.
It also comes a day after China launched a new national holiday for Tibetans called "Serf's Liberation Day" to mark what the government calls the emancipation of Tibetans from the "feudal" rule of the now-exiled Dalai Lama.
Calls to police and government offices in Xining went unanswered on Sunday.
State media last week reported an incident on Tuesday in which three traffic police officers in Xining were surrounded and beaten by a group of men as they intervened to sort out a routine traffic accident.
The report, issued Thursday by China National Radio, said two of the officers were sent to hospital in stable condition, and that one of the assailants was arrested. The others were still being sought, it said at the time.
Violent outbursts by people upset with police or the government over perceived injustices are common in China.
But Sunday morning's incident comes amid high tension in Tibetan areas due to the March 10 anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising after which the Dalai Lama, the Himalayan region's spiritual leader, fled into exile.
On March 21, an angry mob attacked a police station in Rabgya, a mountain town about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from Xining that is known in Chinese as Lajia and home to a large monastery, Xinhua reported at the time.
It said 93 monks, most from the Rabgya monastery, were taken into custody by police following the incident.
China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops to "liberate" the region the previous year, and Beijing has long maintained that its rule ended a Buddhist theocracy that enslaved all but the religious elite.
But the Dalai Lama and his followers allege China has carried out a systematic campaign of repression in Tibet that has nearly extinguished its unique Buddhist culture.
Last year, widespread anti-China demonstrations and riots erupted in Tibet and other nearby provinces with large Tibetan populations on the uprising's 49th anniversary.
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