Authorities in a Tibetan area of southwest China denied yesterday that a violent protest had taken place, after the Dalai Lama said Chinese troops there had fired on protesters this week.
An official at the local government office of Garze, a Tibetan-majority town in Sichuan province near the border with Tibet, where the protest is alleged to have taken place, said no such incident had occurred.
"There has not been any protest," the official, who refused to be named, told Agence France-Presse by phone.
A man surnamed Liu, working at the police bureau of Garze prefecture - a larger area that takes in the town of the same name - also denied any unrest.
"There has been no protest, it's been calm recently," Liu said.
In an interview with France's Le Monde newspaper published on Thursday, the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, said Chinese security forces in Garze had opened fire on protesters on Monday.
His aide later said there were casualties but it was impossible to get further information because Chinese security forces had locked down the area.
Tibetan activists also said they could get no information from Garze, with authorities either blocking phone calls or intimidating locals into not speaking on the telephone.
The incident allegedly occurred at a particularly sensitive time for China, as the world's spotlight shone on Beijing for the Olympics.
Garze and nearby regions have been under a military lockdown since protests against Chinese rule erupted in March in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, and spread to neighboring provinces of western China with Tibetan populations.