Shocking video footage from inside Tibet exposes use of brutal and excessive force on Tibetans in Lhasa in March 2008

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Tibetan government in exile has today posted on its website rare video footage that was filmed in Lhasa last year following the outbreak of protests in the Tibetan capital on March 14 2008.

The footage explicitly shows captive Tibetans being dragged across the ground and armed Chinese police beating handcuffed and tied Tibetans who are lying prostrate on the ground. Commentary which accompanies the footage states that the footage showing the beating of Tibetan captives was filmed “in or near Lhasa” after March 14 2008.

The footage also shows the shocking wounds suffered by a young Tibetan layperson, Tendar, who attempted to stop Chinese police beating a lone Tibetan monk in Lhasa on March 14 while he was on his way to work. According to the commentary that accompanies the footage, Tendar was “fired at, burned with cigarette butts, pierced with a nail in his right foot and severely beaten with an electric baton”. The footage clearly shows Tendar’s wounds which had begun to rot. The commentary adds that Tendar had even been denied basic medical attention at the military hospital where he was initially taken before being transferred to the TAR People’s Hospital. Both the use of excessive force on prisoners and the denial of medical attention to prisoners contravene Chinese criminal law and constitutional safeguards.

The video footage goes on to show the heavy presence of Chinese paramilitaries in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, confirming recent reports issued by Free Tibet that many areas of Tibet are under de facto martial law.

Director of Free Tibet, Stephanie Brigden, said:

“This is the first footage to have emerged from the spring 2008 Tibet protests which visibly proves the use of brutal and excessive force against Tibetan protesters. The footage clearly challenges official Chinese statements that disproportionate force was not used on unarmed protesters. With Tibet now under a state of de facto martial law, and the brutality of the Chinese state clear for the world to see, governments must end their silence of political convenience over Tibet. And with China having recently deployed thousands of additional troops and paramilitaries into Tibet it is imperative that world leaders urgently demand guarantees from the Chinese government that disproportionate force will not be used again on unarmed Tibetan civilians.”