Norpa Yonten

Killed for taking part in a peaceful protest

During January 2012, Chinese security forces responded to peaceful protests with live ammunition, killing and wounding Tibetan protestors.

Chinese forces have responded in such a manner in several incidents since, making the lethal use of force against peaceful protestors regrettably common in Tibet.

Norpa Yonten, a 49-year-old herder, was shot dead by Chinese security forces on 23 January 2012 in Drago County.

Dozens of Protesters Shot

Norpa Yonten

Yonten was involved in a protest when he was shot by Chinese security forces. A total of 36 Tibetan protesters sustained gunshot wounds, and two died, making this January event the largest reported shooting since 2008.

Yonten was shot in the head and died at the scene. His body was moved to Drango monastery.

Large crowds gathered in front of the monastery in a show of solidarity, some of them travelling quite far to attend Yonten’s funeral.

Remembering Yonten

In the immediate aftermath of Yonten’s death, the Tibetan blogger Woeser wrote a poem dedicated to him.

‘To Yonden Who Was Killed By Gunfire’ [Extract]

But facing this photo
Your name: Yonden,
Turns into torrential tears,
Which still cannot fill the occupied homeland.
Curly black hair, ochre cheeks,
Because of fate we were both raised with tsampa
Suddenly, I returned to the ancestors and siblings who have been in my previous lives as well as this one
This herder named Yonden from Drango, on the first day of the year of the dragon,
Was killed by the bullets of the Chingdrol Magmi with other unknown compatriots
Hitting the gawu that was worn in front of the chest,
Has he already been sent to the peak of the snow mountain by the white horse?

The full poem can be found on the website High Peaks Pure Earth.

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We are Free Tibet, and we stand with Tibetans around the world. For their homeland, for their future and against China’s brutal occupation.