WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (RFA)�A business dispute between ethnic Tibetans and Chinese Moslems in China�s western Qinghai Province flared into large-scale communal violence, resulting in hundreds of injuries and massive property damage, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

Chinese authorities have responded by deploying extra troops around a bridge over the Machu or Huang Ho River, which demarcates Tibetan and Moslem living areas, RFA�s Tibetan service reported.

The clashes began Feb. 14 in Jiangzha (Jainca) County, Qinghai Province, according to sources in Tibet who asked not to be named. The initial dispute followed the sale of a motorcycle by three Tibetans to a group of Moslems from Hualong County�an area known to Tibetans as Bayan, Tsoshar.

Violent clashes among hundreds of people from each group followed, leaving hundreds injured and a large number of Moslem-owned shops and restaurants ransacked, they said. Unconfirmed reports said at least one person was killed. �Later, the local security forces intervened, but no one was arrested," said one source. Troops were still out in force patrolling the area Feb. 21.

Relations between ethnic Tibetans and Chinese Moslems in the region have been tense for years, but this incident marks the first known large-scale clash in recent memory. No comment was immediately available from the local police.

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