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Police open fire on Tibetans celebrating Dalai Lama's birthday PDF Print E-mail
[UPDATE: 11 July 2013] Latest reports indicate that at least 10 people were critically or seriously injured on 6 July, when Chinese armed police shot into a crowd of Tibetans peacefully celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday in Tawu, eastern Tibet. Three remain in critical condition in hospital. At least nine Tibetans received gunshot wounds during the incident.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the injured Tibetans are:
Tsewang ChoephelTsewang Choephel (pictured right), senior monk and administrator from Nyitso monastery - multiple bullet wounds - critical condition
Tashi Sonam
, monk and teacher at Nyitso monastery - shot in the head - critical condition
Ugyen Tashi, layman - eight bullet wounds - critical condition
Gyamtso, monk disciplinarian from Nyitso monastery
- gunshot wound
Jangchup Dorjee, Nyistso monk (brother of Palden Choesang, who self-immolated in November 2011)  - gunshot wound
Lobsang, Nyistso monk 
- gunshot wound
Tashi, layman from Khoro nomadic camp - gunshot wound
Nyendak, layman from Dukya nomadic camp - gunshot wound
Sangpo, layman from  Kyasor nomadic camp - gunshot wound
Dolma, nun from Dunkye nomadic camp - gunshot wound

Gyaltsen, layman and environmental activist from Dunkye nomadic camp - beaten by police - two broken ribs

In addition, an unknown number of others were injured when the police began beating Tibetans. Many of those beaten and injured are believed to be monks from Nyitso monastery (also referred to as Nyatso) and nuns from Geden Choeling nunnery.

Those who were detained on 6 July are now understood to have been released, following a protest by local Tibetans who gathered at the local monastery to condemn the police violence and arrests.

Further reading: TCHRD reports 9 July I 10 July I 11 July

[9 July 2013] At least six Tibetans have been seriously injured in eastern Tibet after Chinese police opened fire on a gathering peacefully celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday. Other gatherings to mark the occassion took place inside Tibet without incident despite the presence of heavy security.

The shooting incident took place on 6 July near Nyitso village, Tawu (Chinese: Dawu), Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated into China's Sichuan province). Hundreds of Tibetans, including monks from Nyitso monastery and nuns from Gedhen Choeling nunnery, had gathered on a hillside to celebrate the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday with a picnic and prayer service.

Police blockade in TawuThe People's Armed Police arrived, blocked the roads (pictured right) and ordered the gathering to disperse. When the Tibetans refused, the police began beating them, used tear gas and opened fire on the unarmed crowd.

A local resident, quoted by Radio Free Asia, said, "[The police] smashed doors and windows of our vehicles and started beating Tibetans gathered in the area and dispersed the Tibetans and started shooting at the crowd."

Two monks, Tashi Sonam and Urgyen Tashi, were shot in the head and are now in critical condition in a hospital in Chengdu. Four other Tibetans, also shot by the police, are reported to be in serious condition. The wounded include Jangchup Dorjee, the brother of Palden Choesang who self-immolated in 2011, Tsering Dhondup, the discipline master of Nyitso monastery, and two unidentified nuns. Some reports indicate there have been further injuries.

At least 20 Tibetans are understood to have been detained following the incident and remain in custody. Armed police have been deployed in the region and Nyitso monastery is reported to be under lockdown. Local sources say the situation in the area is "very tense".

Celebrations in Kham and Amdo
Celebrations in SichuanReports indicate that celebrations of the Dalai Lama's birthday took place in other areas of Tibet without incident despite the presence of armed troops.

According to International Campaign for Tibet, Tibetans gathered in Kham and Amdo, mostly in grasslands outside of towns (pictured right), to hold low-key celebrations including prayer offerings and burning of incense. The Dalai Lama's photo was displayed at some of the gatherings.

China denies relaxation of Dalai Lama policies
In recent weeks there have been reports suggesting that the Chinese government may be relaxing its policies towards the worshipping of the Dalai Lama in some regions of Tibet. Reports indicated the Dalai Lama's photo was being displayed in several monasteries in Qinghai province and that official denunciation of the Dalai Lama was to end. However, there has been no confirmation that such 'experimental' policies have been officially sanctioned. Indeed, the Chinese government issued a strong denial that its policies had changed, suggesting that these local experiments might be closed down.

Further reading: ICT I RFA I VOA I BBCGuardian
Press release from International Tibet Network

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