At least 60 people were wounded when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Tibet, Radio Free Asia said Tuesday, though the Chinese government refused to confirm the report.
The incident occurred Sunday in the Tibetan town of Driru, where a crowd gathered before the home of an activist who had been arrested previously for trying to keep police from searching his residence, RFA said.
Activist Dorje Drakstel had been arrested at a previous demonstration, a protest by local inhabitants for being forced to hang Chinese flags on their doors on China's Oct. 1 National Day.
At Sunday's protest, police shot at protesters and hit some in the hands and legs, while others suffered injuries when they fell to the ground unconscious from the tear gas used by police.
Witnesses told the RFA that at least two of the wounded were in critical condition.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press conference Tuesday that she lacks information about the incident, so it "might not be true."
China says that Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries and in 1951 it was "liberated from the theocracy" of the Dalai Lama, while Tibetans argue that the region was virtually independent for a very long time.
Tensions in the region have increased since protests were organized in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March 2008, during which a score of people were killed, followed by 100 people, mostly Buddhist monks, immolating themselves in the past two years in protest against Chinese colonization. EFE