Although there has been a slow-boiling intensity building up between Chinese officials and Tibetan protesters, it came as a compete shock the mandarins in Beijing -- so brittle as to have international goodwill for the 2010 Olympics -- would attack. The crackdown comes amid Chinese claims that terrorists are targeting the Olympics in China (Putin's Russia, similarly, floated the terrorist argument to start war against those saucy Chechnyan separatists). From The Jim Yardley of The NYTimes:
"Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.
"The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.
"The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to 'stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people.'"