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HRW Accuses China Over Tibet Violence

Protesters burned a Chinese flag during demonstrations in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March 2008.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Chinese authorities of violating international law by using "disproportionate" force during a crackdown on unrest in Tibet two years ago.

In a new report that quotes eyewitnesses to the violence, the New York-based group said Chinese forces "opened fire indiscriminately" on protesters when riots broke out in Tibet in March 2008.

The report says Chinese forces violated international prohibitions against disproportionate use of force, torture, and arbitrary detention, as well as the right to peaceful assembly.

HRW said it based its findings on information from more than 200 Tibetan refugees and visitors, as well as previously unavailable information from Chinese officials.

At least 19 people died in the violence, which occurred a few months before Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.

China has said its forces used minimal force to contain the unrest, which Chinese officials blamed on exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for instigating. The Dalai Lama has denied the allegation.

compiled from agency reports