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2004-05-28
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Report: Tibetan arrested after explosion near military base [2004-05-28 01:51:18.00] SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ A Tibetan man has been detained in connection with an explosion near a military communications station outside the region's capital of Lhasa, a police official and a U.S.-based broadcaster said Friday. Penpa, who like many Tibetans uses only one name, confessed to setting off the May 20 blast, Radio Free Asia reported. It gave no motive, but a police official said the explosion was believed to have been set off by villagers trying to scavenge cables to sell as scrap. Such acts often are intended as protests against Chinese rule in Tibet. RFA didn't say whether the blast caused injuries or damage. The blast damaged a satellite receiving station run by a military base about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lhasa and set fire to equipment underground, said a police official contacted by phone in the Tibetan capital. A group of four to five villagers was detained on suspicion of setting off the explosion to unearth cables to be sold for scrap, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity,``Investigators from the military base arrived quickly, so there wasn't any major damage,'' said the official. The official said one villager confessed, but he couldn't confirm it was Penpa. Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the U.S. government, said Penpa was about 32. Materials for making explosives are widely available in China for mining and construction. RFA said people in the region near the satellite station use them for quarrying stone. China says Tibet is free of political violence, although occasional reports emerge of arrests of people accused of opposing Chinese rule or supporting the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader. Violent protests in the late 1980s were suppressed by the army and China has in recent years stepped up surveillance and restrictions on political expression. Communist forces occupied Lhasa in 1951 to reassert what Beijing claims as centuries of Chinese control over Tibet. Many Tibetans say they were an independent state for most of their history and resent Beijing's rule that has brought an influx of Chinese migrants and controls over traditional Buddhism. Tibetan jailed for setting blast at television tower RFA[Friday, May 28, 2004 09:15] KATHMANDU, May 27 - Chinese authorities in Tibet have jailed a 32-year-old Tibetan man after he confessed to causing an explosion near a television tower outside the Tibetan capital Lhasa, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

The man, identified only as Penpa and aged about 32, has been jailed indefinitely after he admitted under interrogation to causing the May 20 explosion, sources told RFA’s Tibetan service on condition of anonymity.

"There was an explosion on May 20 around 11:30 p.m. at a cable relay tower in Rak Township, in the Ngachen area. When the local security officials learned of the explosion, they dispatched a team to investigate," one source said.

"They arrested 16 Tibetans for interrogation. Later they released nine and detained the other seven for more interrogation. On May 24, Penpa confessed that he placed explosives at the cable TV relay station," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The remaining six detainees were warned against discussing the case and released.

Officials in Ngachen, which is under the Lhasa city government, declined to comment. A local police officer said he knew nothing about any such explosion.

Rak Township is about 45 kms east of Lhasa. Residents are mainly employed in stone work, and possession of explosive devices is permitted to facilitate mining.

Below is the news published by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua

Saboteur Detained for Blasting TV Transmission Station

Lhasa, May 27 - One local television serial maniac was caught and charged with sabotage of a local television transmission station with explosives.

The sabotage suspect admitted to the fact that due to the closure of his village television transmission station he could not see his favorite television serial on May 20 and he used some 600 grams of explosives and one fuse to try to pry open the station. No one got killed or injured in the incident.

The one who is in charge of running the television transmission station slighted his responsibility that night.

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