|381 Rioters Surrender To Police|
|24 March 2008 | By Ren Ke & Yang Sanjun | From China Features|
As of Monday noon (March 24), 381 people involved in the riots in the Tibetan-inhabited Aba county of Southeast China's Sichuan Province have turned themselves in to the police, according to the local government.
Law enforcement authorities of Aba issued a notice last Wednesday, urging those engaged in the riots that broke out in the county on March 16 to surrender in ten days. In the mean time, related laws, such as Criminal Law and the Anti-secession law were widely publicized through the local media.
"Most of the those surrendered people are common people and monks who were deceived or coerced," said Shu Tao, the party chief of Luoerda village, where 63 people have handed themselves over to the police.
"The mobs coerced the commoners, threatening them 'either join us, or your house will be burned down'," said Tian Gang, head of the Jialuo Township of Aba county.
Situated on the Chinese Tibetan Plateau, Aba county is where Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces meet. It has a population of 63,000, with 90 percent of
Tibetan residents, and 42 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.
In the noon of March 16, about 800 people, including monks from Geerdeng Monastery, the biggest monastery in Aba, stoned policemen on duty, while shouting "Free Tibet ", "Long live the Dalai Lama" and waving flags of the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile".
In the meantime, more than 300 monks forced through the police cordon, rushing into the streets and coercing the common people joining them. At around 3 p.m., other 1,000 people from neighboring villages joined the riot, beating, smashing, looting in the streets, and storming into government building, police stations, hospitals, schools and banks.
On March 17, more than 200 nuns stirred up trouble, holding the photo of the Dalai Lama and parading through the main street of downtown, said the local police.
From the evening of 16 to 19, mobsters burned down the government buildings of five villages, and smashed police stations, schools, hospitals and rural credit cooperatives.
"After burning down the township government building, mobsters lowered the national flag, and then raised the flag of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile," recalled Tian Gang of Jialuo Township, adding" one mob even put the national flag on the back of his motorcycle, showing off around."
Several days have passed. Aba county is back to normal. Most schools resumed classes on Monday, according to the local government.
And 90 percent of the shops in downtown Aba were reopened on Sunday. Workers in supermarkets were busy trucking in bottled water, staple foods and other commodities. "The price of vegetables remains stable, almost the same as it was before the riot," said a vendor.
In the courtyard of Jigma Village, where over 20 offices were burned in the riot, a new national flag was raised.
"It was raised in the afternoon of March 19 after the previous one was dragged down by mobs on 17," said village party chief Ma Deyu. On that very day, Ma recalled, 70 to 80 mobs wearing traditional Tibetan clothes broke into the village, burned the national flag.