Violence erupted in Lhasa on March 10 as Tibetans gathered to mark the 49th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. There are conflicting reports behind the number of deaths, with China saying Tibetan rioters attacked and killed 22 "innocent Chinese." Tibetan exiles with links to the protesters say however that Chinese forces brutally cracked down on peaceful protests, killing over 100 civilians.
The Chinese authorities accused the demonstrators in Tibet of seeking to wreck the upcoming Olympic Games, due to be held in Beijing this summer.
The issue of Tibetan autonomy has long threatened to boil over into violent protests. Chinese troops first marched into the Himalayan kingdom in 1950, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India in 1959, fearing arrest by Chinese authorities. He was accompanied by some 80,000 of his countrymen.