Tibetan resentment toward Chinese rule, largely muffled since a failed uprising in 1959, has erupted into violence four times since 1987 in the capital, Lhasa.
- THE FIRST CLASH began when police moved in to arrest leaders of a small pro-independence march led by 21 Buddhist monks on Sept. 27, 1987.
On Oct. 1, 1987, Chinese National Day, about 2,000 Tibetans, angered by the arrests, stormed through the central Barkhor Square, setting fire to a police station, waving the banned Tibetan flag and stoning police. The Chinese said six policemen were killed and 19 injured. Tibetan and foreign witnesses put the death toll at 14 and said hundreds were injured and arrested.
- ON MARCH 5, 1988, the final day of a major prayer festival, a monk stood up during ceremonies at the Jokhang Temple and began shouting for independence. The ensuing violence lasted for two days, with rioters looting and burning shops and setting fire to vehicles.
The Chinese said one policemen died when he was stabbed and pushed by Tibetans from a second-floor window, and more than 300 police were wounded. Unconfirmed reports from foreign travelers put the death toll at 24.
-) ON DEC. 10, about 30 Buddhist monks and nuns, some carrying the Tibetan flag, marched into the central square outside the Jokhang Temple. They were commemorating the 40th anniversary of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. When crowds surged toward the protesters and began to throw stones at police, police opened fire, killing at least one monk and one child.
- ON SUNDAY, a small pro-independence demonstration by monks on the anniversary of the March 1988 riots touched off widespread violence. Hundreds of mostly young Tibetans rampaged through the streets, burning and destroying Chinese-owned buildings and property and stoning police.
The violence continued and tapered off until the government declared martial law in Lhasa on March 7. By official count, 11 people, including one policeman, died on the 5th, and one more Tibetan was killed the next day. Tibetans said police shot to death scores of people.