Chinese Official Defends 2008 Crackdown on Tibetan Protests བོད་སྐད།

A Chinese official from southwestern Sichuan is denying that there have been riots in a Tibetan-populated area of the province.

Speaking with reporters in Beijing Tuesday, Wu Zegang, head of Sichuan province's Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) town said that he was unaware of any protests. Wu said his colleagues confirmed to him over the phone that nothing had happened.

Wu is attending the annual session of China's National People's Congress in the Chinese capital.

There was no way of independently confirming Wu's claims or those of advocacy groups who say Chinese authorities have surrounded a monastery in Ngaba where hundreds of Tibetan monks marched in defiance of Chinese rule.

The International Campaign for Tibet says the monks are likely under lock down, following their Sunday protest in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba).

The group's sources in Sichuan say Buddhist monks from the Sey monastery demonstrated after Chinese authorities barred them from observing a traditional prayer festival.

Last Friday, in the same town, a Tibetan monk set himself on fire while holding the banned Tibetan flag and a picture of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.

Activist groups say police shot the monk while he was burning, but state media say authorities rejected the charge.

Chinese authorities have increased security in Tibetan communities ahead of the March 10th, 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.