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Two Tibetans shot dead; two further immolations & mass protests PDF Print E-mail
[10 February] As protests continue to escalate in Tibet, Chinese security forces have shot dead a Tibetan monk and his brother who were trying to evade arrest after involvement in a protest. Two further self-immolations have taken place, bringing the total over the past 12 months to 18, and thousands of Tibetans have participated in mass protests in eastern Tibet.

Two Tibetans shot dead
  I  Two self-immolations  I  Mass protests  I  Take Action

Two Tibetans shot dead
On 9 February, Chinese security forces captured and shot dead two Tibetans who were fleeing arrest. The incident took place in Drango (Chinese: Luhuo) county in Kardze, eastern Tibet (Sichuan province), the scene of deadly protests on 23 January where Chinese police opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least three Tibetans.

Yeshe RigsalAccording to Radio Free Asia, the two victims, Yeshe Rigsal (pictured right, above), a 40-year old monk from Drango monastery, and his 38-year-old brother Yeshe Samdrub (pictured right, below), had been involved in the 23 January protest during which Yeshe Rigsal suffered a gunshot wound. The two brothers then went into hiding to avoid arrest. However, they were found by Chinese police in the nearby hills, surrounded and shot.

Yeshe SamdrubThe 23 January protest was believed to have been triggered by the imposition of tightened security in the area by the Chinese authorities following the distribution of leaflets claiming self-immolations would continue until Tibet was freed. Security forces in eastern Tibet have opened fire on Tibetan protestors on at least three separate occassions, with at least eight Tibetans feared dead and many more injured.

Self-immolations
Two further self-immolations have been reported this week from eastern Tibet, bringing to six the number of such incidents since the beginning of 2012 and 18 in the past 12 months.

The latest immolation occurred on 9 February at Lab monastery in Tridu (Ch: Chenduo) county in Qinghai province. The protest, by an unidentified monk, came a day after mass protests took place in the region (see below). Full details are yet to emerge, but is reported that the Chinese authorities have since detained senior monks from Lab monastery.

[14 Feb - UPDATE: The monk has been identified as Sonam Rabgyal who is in his mid-30s. It is believed he survived and was taken to hospital. However, details remain sketchy due to the communications blackout imposed by the Chinese authorities.]

Rinzin DorjeeOn 8 February, 19-year old Tibetan Rinzin Dorjee (aka Rikpe) (pictured right) set himself alight in protest against China's rule. The incident took place in Ngaba town in Sichuan province. Security personnel took Rinzin to the county hospital where he is understood to be in critical condition.

Rikpe was a former monk of Kirti monastery. He left the monastery in 2010 and has since been living with his family. Two monks who witnessed the self-immolation were arrested, but their identities and whereabouts are unknown.

[5 March: UPDATE: Rinzin Dorjee died in a Chinese military hospital in Barkham on 21 February. According to local sources, the authorities refused to hand over Rinzin's body to his family and have warned against any prayer gatherings for Rinzin.]


Mass protests
Despite the crackdown by the Chinese government, Tibetans continue to peacefully demonstrate throughout eastern Tibet. On 5 February a protest march took place in Ngaba and on 8 February mass protests were reported in Nangchen and Tridu counties in the Yushu prefecture of Qinghai province.

On 5 February, monks from Se monastery took part in a candle-lit march from the monastery to Ngaba town. They were stopped and confronted by Chinese security personnel. It is not known if any arrests were made. However, Ngaba remains under strict military control, with reports of roadblocks, arbitrary searches and harassment and intimidation by security forces.

Nangchen protestIn Nangchen town, on 8 February, Tibetans gathered on the streets and at the local monastery to recite prayers and chant slogans for the long life of the Dalai Lama (pictured right). Up to 1,000 Tibetans took part. A video clip of the protest has been smuggled out and released by Voice of America. In the video clip, as well as reciting prayers, Tibetans are seen tossing tsampa in the air, as an offering, shouting the traditional Tibetan war cry Ki hi hi and slogans demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and victory to Tibet".

Tridu protest On the same day as the Nangchen protests, 400 monks from the local Sekha monastery undertook a seven mile solidarity march to Dzatoe town in Tridu county (pictured right). The monks carried large banners calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet and urging the release of Tibetan prisoners. The banners also called on the Chinese authorities to "Respect the Tibetans - We are one in happiness and sorrow" and "Respect the Tibetan language".

Halfway into the march Chinese security forces stopped the monks, at which point up to 1,000 local residents joined the protest and shouted defiant slogans. It is believed the protestors dispersed after several hours.

No arrests have been reported from either Nangchen or Tridu. However, security forces are understood to have since surrounded Sekha monastery and restricted the movements of the monks.

TAKE ACTION

Despite the crackdown and media ban by the Chinese authorities, reports continue to be received of protests, shootings and self-immolations in Tibet. The situation is grave and the international community needs to act now. Please take action by contacting your MP and writing to the Chinese Ambassador. Click here for details.


Further reading:
Shootings - RFA (10 Feb)
Self-immolations - 
ICT (8 Feb) I TCHRD (9 Feb) I RFA (9 Feb)Phayul (4 Mar)
Mass protests - 
RFA (8 Feb) I Phayul (9 Feb) I Phayul (10 Feb) I VOA video


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