What I saw was calculated targeted violence against an ethnic group, or I should say two ethnic groups, primarily ethnic Han Chinese living in Lhasa, but also members of the Muslim Hui minority in Lhasa. . . Those two groups were singled out by ethnic Tibetans. . .His account of the Chinese government's response is very interesting:
It seemed as if they were paralyzed by indecision over how to handle this. The rioting rapidly spread from Beijing Road, this main central thoroughfare of Lhasa, into the narrow alleyways of the old Tibetan quarter. But I didn't see any attempt in those early hours by the authorities to intervene. And I suspect again the Olympics were a factor there. That they were very worried that if they did move in decisively at that early stage of the unrest that bloodshed would ensue in their efforts to control it. And what they did instead was to let the rioting run its course and it didn't really finish as far as I saw until the middle of the day on the following day on the Saturday, March the 15th. So in effect what they did was sacrifice the livelihoods of many, many ethnic Han Chinese in the city for the sake of letting the rioters vent their anger.Miles' account largely jives with the story told by Australian tourist and the reports and photos of tourist-blogger Kadfly.
. . . What I did not hear was repeated bursts of machine gun fire, I didn't have that same sense of an all out onslaught of massive firepower that I sensed here in Beijing when I was covering the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in June, 1989.