China on Tuesday accused supporters of the Dalai Lama of fabricating a video that appears to show police beating a Tibetan protester to death, while the video-sharing network YouTube said its service had been blocked for Chinese users.
The footage, which the official Xinhua News Agency said came from sources tied to the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile, was pieced together from different places, the agency said Tuesday, citing an unidentified official with China's Tibetan regional government.
It was not clear what video Xinhua was referring to or where it was available, but YouTube owner Google said that the file-sharing site had been blocked in China. Google spokesman Scott Rubin said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the company was pushing to have service restored and that it could not comment on the Chinese government's reason for the block.
YouTube occasionally blocked
China occasionally blocks YouTube to prevent access to videos that criticize or shine an unflattering light on its Tibet policies.
Xinhua gave few details, although the report said the footage purported to show a person named Tendar being beaten to death by police following a riot in Tibet's capital Lhasa on March 14, 2008. Xinhua said the person in the footage was not in fact Tendar and wounds shown were fake.
"The Dalai Lama group is used to fabricating lies to deceive the international community, and the aim of this video is to hide the truth of the March 14th riot," Xinhua quoted the official as saying.
The government did not directly address whether YouTube had been blocked. When asked about the matter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters: "Many people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite."
Site inaccessible to users
Users in Beijing said they were unable to access the site late Tuesday.
Security in Tibetan areas of China has been tightened in recent weeks as Beijing seeks to head off trouble related to sensitive anniversaries this month. March 14 marked the one-year anniversary of anti-government riots in Lhasa, Tibet's regional capital, while March 17 marked 50 years since the Dalai Lama escaped into exile in India after Chinese troops crushed a Tibetan uprising.
Armed police have been patrolling a Tibetan community in northwest China following reports that six people were arrested after a crowd of hundreds — including Buddhist monks — attacked a police station.