BEIJING - Buddhist monks in the capital of Tibet clashed with police for four days while trying to celebrate the awarding of a U.S. honor for the Dalai Lama, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Sunday.
The awarding of the U.S. Congress' highest civilian honor personally bestowed by President George W. Bush on Wednesday to the exiled spiritual leader had already caused China to warn that Washington had "gravely undermined" relations.
The Ming Pao newspaper said hundreds of monks at the Zhaibung monastery in Lhasa had clashed with police.
It said that after the clash, the monastery was surrounded by 3,000 armed police who refused to allow more than 1,000 monks leave. It gave no other details and did not say if there were any injuries.
A call to the monastery was not answered Sunday. A woman who answered the phone at the Lhasa city government office, who would not give her name, said she had not heard of any violence.
A woman who answered the phone at Lhasa police also said she had no information on the reported violence. She would not give her name.
The Dalai Lama is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but China reviles him as a Tibetan separatist.
The decision by Washington to honor the Dalai Lama is a setback to Beijing's efforts to lend legitimacy to its often harsh rule over Tibet and undermine support for the spiritual leader, who remains popular among Tibetans since fleeing into exile 48 years ago after a failed uprising.