1 Feb 2012

Increased security wanted at monasteries

1:49 pm on 1 February 2012

A senior Chinese official in Tibet wants the police to step up security at monasteries to prevent increasing unrest there from spreading.

Lhasa Communist Party Secretary Qi Zhala also warned of a crackdown on those involved in "separatist, destructive and criminal" activities.

Protesters clashed with security forces in parts of Sichuan province last week.

At least three people are reported to have died, with dozens more injured.

Observers say it is the most serious outbreak of anti-government protest there in nearly four years.

The BBC reports Tibetan areas of Sichuan remain extremely tense. Since March 2011, at least 16 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in apparent protest against Beijing's rule.

Sichuan province borders Tibet and several areas have large ethnic Tibetan communities.