PARIS August 21 — Chinese security forces opened fire on a crowd this week in eastern Tibet and may have killed 140 people, the Dalai Lama told a French daily on Thursday.
"The Chinese army again fired on a crowd on Monday August 18, in the Kham region in eastern Tibet," he told Le Monde. "One hundred and forty Tibetans are reported to have been killed, but the figure needs to be confirmed."
He said that since March, when China cracked down on protests against Chinese rule in the Himalayan territory, "reliable witnesses say that 400 people have been killed in the region of (Tibetan capital) Lhasa alone."
"Killed by bullets, even though they were protesting without weapons. Their bodies were never given back to their families," said the Tibetan spiritual leader who is in France for a 12-day visit.
France is struggling to mend ties with China after President Nicolas Sarkozy angered Beijing by threatening to boycott the opening of the Olympic Games following the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.
Sarkozy did however finally attend the ceremony in Beijing on August 8.