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Three Tibetans shot dead as Chinese New Year begins PDF Print E-mail
[24 January] Chinese police killed three Tibetans after opening fire on a crowd of protestors in Drango (Chinese: Luhuo), Kardze in the traditional province of Kham in eastern Tibet (Sichuan province). The incident took place on 23 January, the first day of the Chinese New Year. The protest came after increasing tensions in the area and called for freedom and an end to Chinese rule in Tibet.

The protest is believed to have been in response to the imposition of tightened security in the area by the Chinese authorities. Harsh security measures were introduced following the dissemination of leaflets which said that Tibetans should not celebrate the New Year and that further self-immolations would take place unless the Chinese government took heed of Tibetans' concerns.

An exiled Tibetan in contact with Tibetans in Drango said, "The sense of grief and pain about the self-immolations across Tibet is at the forefront of peoples minds, and because they could not bear it, they began to express their views and protest."

Tibetans gathered in Drango town, including farmers and nomads from surrounding areas, at about midday on 23 January. Some carried Tibetan flags and began shouting slogans.
According to International Campaign for Tibet, Yondenthree Tibetans were killed after Chinese police opened fire on the demonstrators and at least several others injured. One of the dead has been named as Yonden (pictured right), a brother of a reincarnate lama from a local monastery. Chinese state media have confirmed the death of one Tibetan.

There are now serious concerns for the safety of the monks of the local Drango monastery, as they may be seen as instigators of the protests. In similar incidents in other areas local monasteries have been sealed off and monks beaten and arrested by security forces. Drango monastery is one of the largest and most important monasteries in the region.

Chinese state media said the police reacted to a mob that "stormed and smashed some stores along a main street and a police station", threw stones at police and destroyed vehicles. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman accused foreign NGOs as "distorting the truth" referring to them as "overseas secessionist groups".

Last week, in neighbouring Ngaba, Chinese police opened fire on Tibetan demonstrators who had gathered after the self-immolation of former monk Lobsang Jamyang. It is still not known if any Tibetans were killed in this incident or how many were injured. The region remains closed to visitors and foreign media.

Further reading: ICT I TCHRD I BBCTake Action

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