Tibetan activists say Chinese police have opened fire in a confrontation with protesters in China's Tibetan Autonomous Region, leaving 60 people wounded.
Local and exiled Tibetan sources told VOA's sister network, Radio Free Asia, the incident happened Sunday in the town of Biru in Naqu county. They said many of the wounded were shot in the hands and legs as the police fired into a crowd that was demanding the release of a protest leader.
Chinese police detained the activist, Dorje Draktsel, last week for protesting official orders for Tibetans to fly the Chinese flag on their homes to mark China's October 1st national day.
RFA quoted sources as saying some people hurt in Sunday's incident were knocked unconscious when police fired tear gas, while many of the wounded did not receive prompt medical care from authorities.
London-based rights group Free Tibet also reported that 60 people were wounded in the police crackdown on the Biru protest. It said the Chinese government sent thousands of workers to the region last month to force Tibetans to show loyalty to the ruling Communist Party.
The Tibetan government-in-exile in the Indian city of Dharamsala issued a statement accusing Beijing of repressing Tibetans with measures "reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution years" of the 1960s and 1970s.
A spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry said she was unaware of reports of the Biru unrest.
Chinese security forces often employ tough tactics to disperse protests, but the use of guns is unusual.
Many Tibetans complain that the Chinese government suppresses their religion and culture while flooding their homeland with ethnic Han Chinese who exploit Tibetan resources.
Beijing says its investments in Tibet have improved the living standards of Tibetans.