BEIJING, China (CNN) -- A Chinese court sentenced 17 people, including six monks, to jail sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment for their roles in riots in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa last month, state media reported Tuesday.
Pro-independence protests in Lhasa began March 14. The protests, peaceful at first, descended into violence with demonstrators burning and looting stores.
Beijing blamed followers of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, and said 18 civilians and one police officer were killed. Tibetan exile groups said many times that number died in the violence and the subsequent crackdown.
The state-run news agency, Xinhua, said Tuesday that Basang, a monk, led 10 people -- including five monks -- who destroyed a government office, torched and robbed 11 shops and attacked policemen during the riots. E-mail to a friend