BEIJING - Deadly clashes between ethnic Tibetans and Chinese security forces have spread to a second area in southwestern China, an overseas Tibetan activist group said today.
Two Tibetans were killed and several more were wounded Tuesday when security forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Seda county in Sichuan province, the group Free Tibet said.
The reported violence came after about 30 Tibetans were wounded Monday when Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesters, and the Tibetans took shelter in a monastery in neighboring Luhuo county, a monk said. Military forces surrounded the building, said the monk, who would not give his name out of fear of government retaliation.
The counties have been tense for some time, and at least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest in the past year. Most have chanted for Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
Many Tibetans resent Beijing's heavy-handed rule and the migration of China's ethnic Han majority to the region. China says Tibet has been under its rule for centuries, but many Tibetans say it was functionally independent for most of that time.
China said that Monday's unrest in Luhuo was caused by a "mob" and that overseas advocacy groups are twisting the truth about what happened to undermine the government.