- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

BEIJING (AP) - Assailants threw a bomb into a newly built police station in a Tibetan area in western China, a police official said Tuesday amid heightened tensions and security during a volatile anniversary period. No injuries were reported.

The explosion just after midnight Monday shattered windows at the station in Bogexi, a town in the predominantly Tibetan Ganzi prefecture, said Liu Xiaojun, a police official.

The building was not yet occupied and an investigation was under way, said Liu, who works at the public security bureau in Batang county, which oversees the town. Batang, in Sichuan province’s far west, is about five miles (seven kilometers) from the Tibetan border.

The state-run China Daily newspaper blamed “terrorists” for the blast, but provided no other details.

The incident came just days after the one-year anniversary of March 14 anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa, Tibet’s regional capital. The violence last year spread to three other provinces in western China _ Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai _ and was the most sustained and widespread Tibetan uprising in decades.

This month also marks the 50th anniversary of a failed March 10 revolt against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region that sent the revered Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile.

Ganzi is known for its strong Tibetan identity and has been at the center of dissent for years. It saw some of the most violent protests last spring.

Last week, officials said they received an emergency notice from Sichuan’s provincial government to seal off the town of Kangding to foreigners, the last corner of Ganzi to remain open.

It was one in a series of stringent security measures Beijing imposed while trying to head off trouble ahead of the anniversaries, including chains of checkpoints for vehicles and increased police and paramilitary patrols in towns.

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