March 18, 2008
Dozens of Tibetan prisoners were paraded on military trucks in Lhasa yesterday, with their heads bent and wrists handcuffed behind their backs, as soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army tightened their grip on the Tibetan capital.
As a midnight deadline approached for rioters to surrender, soldiers carried out house-to-house searches. Some of those suspected of taking part in the mayhem last Friday, when Tibetan anger at Chinese rule erupted into racial hatred with stabbing and beating of ethnic Han Chinese and the burning of shops, banks and businesses, had already been detained.
Four open army trucks carrying about 40 people, mostly young Tibetan men and women, drove in a slow convoy along main roads, witnesses said. Loudspeakers on the trucks broadcast calls to anyone who had taken part in the riots to turn themselves in. Those who gave themselves up might be treated leniently, the rest would face severe punishment, the broadcasts said.
The worst violence for 20 years in the deeply Buddhist Himalayan region has drawn a tough response from the Chinese Government, which is facing embarrassment as the riots threaten to tarnish its image of unity and stability only five months before it plays host to the Olympic Games.
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