BEIJING, OCT. 3 -- Chinese police repeatedly opened fire on Tibetan demonstrators during violent protests in Lhasa Thursday, according to a number of foreign witnesses traveling from the Tibetan capital. At least six, and possibly as many as 13, demonstrators were killed.

Lhasa was reported to be relatively quiet today, but even if the Chinese police succeed in containing the protests for the moment, the depth of anti-Chinese feeling evident in Thursday's rioting will not easily be dissipated, according to western analysts.

The police action has created martyrs who could become a rallying point for further protests against the Chinese domination of Tibet, the analysts said.

An official Chinese statement denied that police opened fire on the protesters. The official Chinese press said today that, according to preliminary reports, six persons were killed and 19 policemen badly injured in Thursday's rioting.

Foreign witnesses, mostly tourists, said that some Tibetans placed the number of deaths as high as 13. Witnesses reported that a 7-year-old boy, shot in the back, was among those killed. Witnesses said the rioting began after police arrested about 50 monks and lay people who were holding a proindependence march.

The police action has provided new focal points for potential controntation between Chinese authorities and Tibetan nationalists demanding independence from China.

Funeral ceremonies for the slain demonstrators will likely draw large crowds as well as police over the next few days. Two American witnesses in Lhasa said police charged a procession of demonstrators on Thursday when they held aloft the corpse of one riot victim, Reuter reported.

Tensions are still high over the continued detention in Lhasa of 21 Buddhist monks, whose arrests during a demonstration for independence last Sunday reportedly sparked Thursday's protests.

Next Wednesday marks the 37th anniversary of the Chinese Army's invasion of Tibet, in which tens of thousands of Tibetans were reported to have been killed.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, today condemned the killing of Tibetans during the rioting and said, "I still believe that violence is not a solution to any problem."

The Dalai Lama's comment, issued from his residence in a Himalayan town in northern India, was his first statement on the killings in Lhasa.

Chinese officials have tried persuasion in dealing with the Dalai Lama in the past. But in recent weeks, they have begun to speak of his "criminal activities" overseas. This change in tone makes reconciliation with him appear less likely.

Dawa Thondup, head of the international division of the Tibetan government in exile, went further in what appeared to be a battle call for more protests.

Thondup said the events in Lhasa may lead to "a popular upsurge across Tibet.

"Our information is that anti-Chinese feelings and street demonstrations are spreading to other areas in Tibet. . . . It is going to be a mass movement, a people's struggle, a freedom movement."

It seems clear from Thursday's events that the anti-Chinese sentiments in Lhasa are not confined to any one generation of Tibetans. Several dozen monks were joined by many youths in an attack on a police station located near the Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual center of Tibet.

The official New China News Agency reported early today that according to police officers, the police strictly observed orders from higher authorities not to open fire during the rioting. The news agency said rioters grabbed guns carried by the police and fired at the police and at bystanders.

But foreign witnesses told another story. According to a Reuter report -- the first detailed western news agency account from Lhasa this week -- police on rooftops first fired warning shots into the air and then into the crowd below as the police station went up in flames.

Witnesses said monks and other marchers hurled themselves out of side windows in the police station but were shot as they fled.

Some said the police acted at first with restraint but became more aggressive under pressure, according to Reuter.

{Several hundred Tibetan exiles demonstrated near Chinese diplomatic missions in India and Switzerland to protest the Lhasa killings, Reuter reported. In New Delhi, Tibetan protesters shouting, "Long live the Dalai Lama," tried to climb over barricades to reach the Chinese Embassy but were pushed back by police. More than 20 Buddhist monks were in the crowd.}

The Chinese news agency, meanwhile, issued what it called an eyewitness acount of the Lhasa rioting, which, it said, lasted from around 10 a.m. until dusk. Among the rioters were two unidentified foreigners who were waving their hands and urging the demonstrators to attack the police, the report said.

Two Americans were detained during the demonstration last Sunday. U.S. officials said they are still under detention, but Reuter reports quoting one of the detained Americans indicated they had been released.

New China News Agency said two of its reporters were attacked by demonstrators. One was hit by a stone on the forehead, leaving a two-inch cut. The other's face was bruised.

"The Chinese government must be perplexed," said a western diplomat earlier this week. "They must feel they're doing all they can -- pouring a lot of subsidies into Tibet."

The long-range implications for China's domestic politics are not yet clear. The turmoil might weaken the position of senior leader Deng Xiaoping and other reformists at a Communist Party congress scheduled for the end of this month, observers believe.

The Chinese consider Tibet to be of great strategic importance because of its location just north of India and south of the Soviet Union.

Orthodox Marxist officials who have been critical of certain reforms may argue that Deng's opening Tibet up to the outside world resulted in a loss of control over the region.

In the early 1980s, Deng and others decided to relax Chinese controls over Tibet, encouraging tourism there, allowing more religious activity and restoring Buddhist temples destroyed or damaged by Chinese radicals during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.