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Group accuses China of abuses in Tibet

Associated Press / July 22, 2010

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BEIJING — Chinese security forces fired indiscriminately on Tibetan protesters in 2008 and beat and kicked others until they lay motionless on the ground, a rights group said in a report citing witnesses to clashes in which the government contends that it acted with restraint.

The Human Rights Watch report released today gives a detailed examination — based on rare witness accounts — of China’s crackdown on the broadest antigovernment uprising the country has faced from Tibetans in nearly 50 years.

Riots started in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and then spread to China’s west.

Since then, Beijing has sought to suppress accounts of rights abuses. It has flooded the region with troops, put Tibetans under tighter scrutiny, reduced the flow of international tourists, and allowed in only a few foreign reporters under escort.

Among the report’s findings: Witnesses say that on March 14, 2008, forces in Lhasa opened fire on protesters near Barkhor, the heart of the old city. They say that at several rallies, forces hit demonstrators with batons and rifle butts until they were motionless. Security forces shot at students headed to a demonstration and at civilians marching toward government buildings, they say.

Beijing had no comment.

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