Protests escalate in eastern Tibet; more Tibetans shot dead
[25 Janaury] For the second consecutive day Tibetan protestors have been killed by Chinese police. Up to five Tibetans have reported to been shot dead with many more injured as protests erupted yesterday (24 January) in the town of Serthar in eastern Tibet. Further protests have also been reported in the Tibetan areas of Ngaba and Golog.
Over 600 police responded to the protest in Serthar, where a large number of Tibetans had gathered and shouted slogans including calling for independence for Tibet. Sources speaking to Radio Free Asia and Voice of Tibet said that five Tibetans were killed as Chinese police fired indiscriminately into the crowd of protestors. One of the dead has been identified as Bobo, a Tibetan man in his mid-30s. Approximately 40 people were seriously injured.
Serthar is now reported to be under martial law conditions with large numbers of security personnel patrolling the streets. Shops and businesses are closed and checkpoints have been set up on roads leading into Serthar. An unknown number of Tibetans have been arrested.
The Serthar protest came one day after protests in Drango which saw three Tibetans shot dead by Chinese police. One of the dead was identified as Yonden (pictured right). Serthar (Chinese: Seda) and Drango (Ch: Luhuo) are both located in Kardze in the traditional province of Kham, eastern Tibet (Sichuan province).
Chinese state media confirmed the incident in Serthar, saying one Tibetan had been shot dead, but claimed the protestors had attacked a police station and that the police used force only "after efforts involving persuasion and non-lethal weapon defence failed to disperse the mob".
Protests have also been reported in other areas of eastern Tibet over the past few days; Ngaba (Sichuan province) on 23 January and in Golok (Qinghai province) on 24 January.
Hundreds of Tibetans took part in day-long demonstrations and candlelit vigils in Meruma township, Ngaba on 23 January, calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Many Tibetans were beaten and arrested by security forces. On the same day a protest took place at Kirti monastery in Ngaba where up to 500 Tibetans gathered following a raid by Chinese security personnel which resulted in an unknown number of arrests.
According to Voice of America, eight Tibetans were detained following a protest by hundreds of Tibetans in Golok who were demanding the withdrawl of troops from two local monasteries.
These protests reflect the increasing desperation Tibetans currently feel as the situation in Tibet continues to deteriorate, with military crackdowns, arbritrary arrests and a lack of basic human rights. Since March last year, 16 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against China's policies in Tibet, 12 of whom are known to have died. Following the latest self-immolation, on 14 January by Lobsang Jamyang in Ngaba, Chinese police opened fire on a crowd of Tibetans who were protesting against the police's treatment of the former monk.
Further reading: RFA I Phayul (Serthar) I Phayul (Ngaba) I VOA I BBC I Guardian
24 Jan: Three Tibetans shot dead in Drango (Tibet Society)
24 Jan: Press Release - Hague called upon to speak up for Tibetans' rights
19 Jan: Tibetans shot following self-immolation (Tibet Society)
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