The Tibetan capital of Lhasa has been transformed into a scene of violent anger as the most open and fierce anti-government protests in years burst into the open. Armed police used water cannon and teargas on crowds and witnesses claim security vehicles were set on fire and Chinese drivers carried off with bloodied faces after being beaten by a mob of young Tibetans. the US Embassy in Beijing claim it has received reports of gunfire in the city. The protests come just a few months before China was on the world stage due to the presence of the 2008 Olympic Games. A resident told reporters from the Guardian newspaper, “I saw Tibetans throwing stones at the vehicles. They dragged drivers from vehicles, took off their uniforms and helmets, then beat them.”
The Chinese government has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident and most probably seeks to keep things quiet. A blogger who writes from Lhasa, under the name Beifang, offered a similar account of violence saying “police cars and fire engines were outside smashed and burned.” He claims to have heard gunshots.
Protests by monks on Monday appear to have sparked the growing feeling of resentment which many Tibetans harbor toward the Chinese. Armed police have locked down monasteries, but that will not halt the fierce hostility toward the Chinese occupation of Tibet by the local population. Perhaps, it is time for China to accord real local autonomy to the people of Tibet