China Admits Police Shot Tibetan Protesters
State's claim of 13 dead, 4 wounded at odds with exiles' estimate of 99 killed
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2008 3:06 PM CDT
Young Tibetan monks practice debating at the Gedan Song Zan Monastery in Zhongdian in China's southwest Yunnan province Thursday, March 20, 2008.    (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – China admitted today its police opened fire on Tibetan protesters, wounding four in “self-defense,” the BBC reports. The statement from state-run Xinhua news agency is China’s first admission to hurting anyone since protests began last week. Chinese officials say rioters have killed 13; Tibetan activists reported security forces firing on crowds, and say at least 99 have been killed.

Xinhua says the shooting occurred earlier this week, Reuters reports, in Aba county; Tibetans claimed eight killed. The Chinese news agency adds that Chinese forces used “maximum restraint” during protests in Tibet’s capital, but not in other areas of the country. State TV reports calm has been restored to rioting areas, but a BBC reporter says the situation remains “extremely tense.”