Two Chinese police officers were injured when a police station was attacked yesterday in the country’s northwest near Tibetan-populated areas, state media reported.
The incident, reported by Xinhua news agency, comes amid a heavy security crackdown in Tibet and adjacent Tibetan areas to prevent unrest during this month’s 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
The brief dispatch said the incident occurred in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, which neighbors Tibet and has a substantial Tibetan population.
A police spokesman later yesterday said that six drunken brawlers had gone on a rampage at the police station, injuring two police officers.
A second attack on the station hours later involved more than 20 people.
Li Weijun, a spokesman with the public security bureau in Xining said the first group of people to attack the station late on Saturday were drunk and had been hauled in to stop them from fighting with their neighbors.
Li said those involved in the rampage were not Tibetan. He said they were a married couple and four men who were mostly from Henan in central China.
Li said the group left the station after injuring two officers but returned later with 20 other people for a second attack. He said police had to deploy a tactical squad to the scene to stop the fighting.
Li said the second group of attackers left, but the original six were being held while an investigation was under way.
State media last week reported an incident on Tuesday in which three traffic police officers in Xining were surrounded and beaten by a group of men as they intervened to sort out a routine traffic accident.
The report, issued on Thursday by China National Radio, said two of the officers were taken to hospital in stable condition, and that one of the assailants was arrested. The others were still being sought, it said at the time.
Xining residents reached by telephone yesterday reported no unusual tension or security presence in the city.
Violent outbursts by people upset over perceived police heavy-handedness or government injustices are common in China.
But yesterday morning’s incident comes amid high tension in Tibetan areas due to the March 10 anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising that led to the exile of the Dalai Lama, the Himalayan region’s spiritual leader.
It also comes a day after China launched a new “Serf’s Liberation Day” holiday to mark what the government calls the emancipation of Tibetans from the “feudal” rule of the Dalai Lama.
The Xining incident was the second reported attack on a Qinghai police station in a little more than a week.
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