Tibetan shot dead by police in Ngaba
[27 January] As tensions escalate in Tibet, another Tibetan has been shot dead at a protest in eastern Tibet. Urgen, a 20-year old man, was killed on 26 January after Chinese police fired into a crowd who had gathered to protest against the arrest of a local Tibetan. This is the third known incident of police shooting and killing protestors this week.
The incident, which took place in Barma town, Dzamtang county, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (in Sichuan province), was sparked by the arrest of Tharpa by Chinese security forces. Tharpa had openly put up posters in the local area which stated that the self-immolations would continue until there was freedom in Tibet and the Dalai Lama was allowed to return.
According to Radio Free Asia, the poster declared that, “Tibetans will never abandon their struggle and will continue to organise more campaigns until the demands of Tibetans who have self-immolated are met.” Tharpa is said to have also included his name and photo on the posters and a statement challenging the authoities to arrest him.
As Tharpa was arrested, local people gathered to try and prevent the police from taking him away, whilst shouting slogans and saying Tharpa's arrest would provoke a mass protest. The police responded by opening fire on the crowd. One man was shot dead (later identified as Urgen) and several others wounded. The whereabouts and well-being of Tharpa are not known. Since the incident, large numbers of Tibetans from surrounding areas are reported to be converging on Barma town.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy have also reported the arrest of a Tibetan in Lhasa for distributing leaflets calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Namkha Gyaltsen, aged 25, was arrested in Barkhor Square in Lhasa on 25 January. Namkha is from Golog (Ch: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province. Namkha's current whereabouts are not known. Lhasa has been placed under increased security and surveillance following the protests in eastern Tibet.
Further reading: RFA I TCHRD (Ngaba) I TCHRD (Lhasa) I Take Action
Reports of previous protests on 14 Jan I 23 Jan I 24 Jan
Statement by British government (26 Jan)
Tibet Society: UK must back up statement with practical measures (26 Jan)
Other recent statements:
Kalon Tripa (Tibetan Prime Minister in exile) statement (26 Jan)
"I urge the Chinese leadership to heed the cries of the Tibetan protestors and those who have committed self-immolation. [China] will never address the genuine grievances of Tibetans and restore stability in Tibet through violence and killing... I call on the international community to show solidarity and to raise your voices in support of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people at this critical time."
Human Rights Watch statement (26 Jan)
"The Chinese government should immediately investigate shootings of Tibetan protesters by security forces, open Tibetan areas to international observers, and engage with representatives of the Tibetan community to address grievances and growing violence."
Amnesty International statement (24 Jan)
"China must avoid using excessive force in response to protests and allow independent monitors into areas of protest."
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