China on Tuesday criticized human rights groups' accounts of a violent clash between Tibetan protesters and the Chinese police, accusing them of trying to "distort the truth."
The dispute over what took place in a remote area of Sichuan Province comes at a sensitive time in China's relationship with its Tibetan population after a string of self-immolations by Tibetan protesters in recent months.
The International Campaign for Tibet, which promotes human rights for Tibetan people, reported Monday that thousands of Tibetans had marched on government offices before the police opened fire into the crowd, killing at least three protesters and wounding nine.
Free Tibet, a London-based group that campaigns for Tibetan independence, said that one person was killed and as many as 30 others wounded by gunfire from the Chinese security forces.
The rights groups said the protesters had been motivated by a recent security crackdown on Tibetans in the region following the circulation of pamphlets raising the prospect of more self-immolations.
The reports, which could not be independently verified, contrasted with the account given by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. It reported that "dozens of people, including some monks, stormed and smashed some stores along a main street and a police station" in the autonomous Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi in Sichuan.FULL STORY