Tibet Update: Chinese police open fire on protesters

by twit

On April 4, 2008, the Associated Press describes reports of recent protests, including that “police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who had marched on local government offices.” The Chinese media agency Xinhua reports:

… no mention of deaths or injuries among protesters, but said a “riot” had flared up Thursday night outside government offices in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture high in the mountains in Sichuan province along the border with Tibet.

further details are offered by the Associated Press:

… the chief monk, Lobsang Jamyang, refused to allow a government team to enter on Wednesday, but they returned Thursday with a force of about 3,000 paramilitary troops. The two monks, Geshi Sonam Tenzing and Tsultrim Phuntsog, were detained after photos of the Dalai Lama were found among their belongings.

Soon afterward, the monastery’s 370 monks marched on local government headquarters to demand their release, joined by about 400 lay people, Whitticase said. The group left after being told the two monks would be freed at 8 p.m., but returned after officials reneged. Along the way, they were confronted by troops at a road block, who opened fire on the crowd, Whitticase said.

The BBC has more:

Tibetan exile groups say Chinese security forces killed dozens of protesters. Beijing says about 19 people were killed in rioting.

… The latest Xinhua report states that a government official was “attacked and seriously wounded” in the Donggu township at about 2000 (1200 GMT) on Thursday.

“Local officials exercised restraint during the riot and repeatedly told the rioters to abide by the law,” Xinhua quoted an official with the prefectural government as saying.

“Police were forced to fire warning shots and put down the violence,” the official added.

From the Times Online:

Chinese paramilitary police killed eight people and wounded dozens more when they fired on a protest by several hundred Tibetan monks and villagers

…  About 6.30pm, the entire monastic body marched down to a nearby river, where paramilitary police were encamped and demanded the release of the two men. They were joined by several hundred local villagers, many of them enraged at the detention of the elderly monk, who locals say is well respected in the area for his learning and piety.

Shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama”, “Let the Dalai Lama come back” and “We want freedom”, the crowd demonstrated until about 9pm.

Witnesses said that up to 1,000 paramilitary police used force to try to end the protest and opened fire on the crowd. In the gunfire, eight people died, according to a local resident in direct contact with the monastery. These included a 27-year-old monk identified as Cangdan and two women named as Zhulongcuo and Danluo.

Witnesses said that a 30-year-old villager, Pupu Deley, was killed, with the son of a villager named Cangdan, and the daughter of a villager called Cuogu. Two other people, whose identities were not available, were also killed, the witnesses said. Among those wounded was one person with a bullet through the ear and another shot in the shoulder. About 10 people were still missing yesterday, including another monk, Ciwang Renzhen.

Related Posts:

Tibet Protest News Update – this post includes a map of protests in Tibet from March 10 through March 25, 2008.

Tibet Protest News – this post collects news reports about the widespread protests in Tibet and China, with sources listed by province and a summary of recent events.

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