Beijing: In the wake of protests by Tibetans in Sichuan province over self-immolations by monks, China has tightened its control over Buddhist temples and monasteries in Tibet and is taking steps to prevent "trouble-makers" from entering the region.
   
The official Chinese media also defended the recent police firing on Tibetan demonstrators as "justified response and accused "Dharmashala" of instigating protests, without directly naming the Dalai Lama.
    
Qi Zhala, a top official in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, directed local authorities to pay more attention to security at certain "sections of national highways and key temples," and called for strengthening registration system to prevent "trouble-makers" from entering the remote Himalayan region.
    
Qi, who is the Secretary of Lhasa unit of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), stated this during his visit to Mozhugongka county, a gateway to Tibet from Sichuan.
    
"In order to crack down on separatist and other criminal activities incited by the Dalai Lama clique, all cadres should cooperate closely and raise their sense of responsibility," he was quoted as saying.
   
He ordered the cadres working at the frontline to continue to work on new social management models and reinforce a series of favourable policies on management of monasteries and work hard to win over people's hearts and minds.
   
His remarks came as tensions grew in Luomo in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where hundreds of residents and monks took to streets on January 23 following public announcements that three monks had immolated themselves and told locals to retrieve their bodies from the government.
   
"Some of them carried knives, threw rocks and tried to storm two police stations. One of the attackers was killed and nine injured during the clash," a state-run newspaper said.
    
A total of 16 monks and nuns have attempted self-immolations in the recent months, calling for return of the Dalai Lama from exile in Dharmashala.
   
Another CPC official warned that stern action would be taken against officials for any lapses. "Maintaining stability is the most important political task that prevails overall other things in Tibet. And government bodies at all levels must enhance inspection work," said Luosang Jiangcun, standing committee member of the CPC committee of Tibet.
   
"Those who do not fulfil their responsibility and fail to prevent incidents from happening will be removed from office instantly," the newspaper quoted him as telling Tibet's media.
    
Meanwhile, 'China Daily' on Tuesday defended the recent police firing on Tibetans in Sichuan as "justified response."     
   
In its editorial, the daily did not directly name Dalai Lama and instead accused "Dharmashala" of instigating protests.

Police all over the world react the same way if mob attacks police stations with rocks and knives, the daily said.
   
Providing an official account that led to the police firing in Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, it said: "In the face of the mob, which had attacked stores and bank facilities and smashed police vehicles and fire trucks at a police station, local police officers opened fire."
    
"Although the death was tragic and lamentable, for the police, opening fire was the only course of action in the circumstances. They not only had to contain the commotion and restore calm, but also defend themselves and prevent even more disastrous consequences," it said.
    
"Dharamshala and its Western patrons spare no effort in exploiting such incidents to their own advantage. And, thanks to their long-term endeavours their bogus claims are voluntarily trumpeted by some Western media all too eager to engage in a new round of China-bashing," it said.
    
"The average Tibetan, no matter where he or she is in China, has complete freedom to worship. And the government's care for the preservation of their cultural traditions is meticulous, and, we might add, generous," it said.
   
"Dharamshala blinds itself to the truth and seeks to obscure the facts, because a content and peaceful Tibet is detrimental to its aims," it said. "In order to remain relevant and of use to its foreign patrons, Dharamshala has to continue instigating unrest. But the majority of Tibetans know that is not the path to a better future."
    
Baima Chilin, the Chairman of the autonomous region, said separately that "all cadres should implement government policies and smash the conspiracy of the Dalai Lama clique."
    
According to the official website of Tibet autonomous region, police officers, armed police forces and fire fighting troops had checked more than 4,800 people from the floating population, 2,100 rented and residential rooms, randomly checked over 4,600 people and examined more than 1,900 vehicles till January 22.
    
The state-run Global Times report said management controls of the monasteries have been strengthened.
   
A local official with the United Front Work Department in a county near Lhasa told the Global Times that management committees at monasteries headed by government officials and monks had been set up in every temple in Tibet by the end of last year, which greatly boosted regional stability.
   
Mobile police stations were also established to enhance police presence, the official said, noting that police officers will be stationed at temples located in remote areas to further ensure the region's stability.   

(Agencies)