29 Apr 2008

China jails 17 over Tibet riots

A court in Tibet has jailed 17 people for taking part in riots in the capital, Lhasa, last month, Chinese state media has said.

The prison terms are reported to range from three years to life.

Anti-China protests led by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on 10 March and gradually escalated into rioting.

China says at least 19 people were killed by the rioters - but Tibetan exiles say that nearly 100 were killed by the Chinese security forces.

A court in Lhasa handed down the verdicts at a trial attended by more than 200 people, including Buddhist monks, medical workers and "masses from all walks of life", state television reported.

Chinese authorities have blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the unrest in an attempt to sabotage this summer's Beijing Olympics and promote Tibetan independence. He strongly denies this. Tibet and the surrounding provinces where the protests took place have been closed to foreigners since the unrest.  BBC NEWS