Chinese Officials Dispute Tibetan Information on Protester Death Toll

Chinese officials say the Tibetan government in exile has fabricated information about protesters who were allegedly killed by Chinese security forces.

The officials were referring to a report the India-based Tibetan government released last month that identified 40 of more 100 protesters who were allegedly killed in Tibet and nearby provinces.

Chinese state-run media quoted Lhasa police officials Monday saying they could not confirm that any of the protesters were dead.

In an interview Monday with VOA Chinese service, a member of the Tibetan exile parliament rejected the police official's comments.

Kelsang Gyaltsen said the names and places of birth of the deceased named by the exiled Tibetan government were provided by family members and what he termed other reliable sources.

The exile government says as many as 150 Tibetans have died over the last four weeks of protests. Chinese officials say 18 "innocent" people died in Lhasa, but have not said whether others also died on March 14th.

Meanwhile, reports released Monday said several Tibetans were injured when Chinese paramilitary police opened fire on a Tibetan gathering Saturday in Sichuan province.

Also Monday, China's top security official, Wu Heping, briefed foreign journalists on what he said was evidence of the so-called "Dalai clique's" instigation of Tibetan protests.

On Sunday, the Dalai Lama appealed to Tibetans around the world to refrain from violence and any actions that, in his words, "could create hatred in the minds of Chinese people."