Chinese forces fire on Tibetan protesters: 10 seriously injured (pictures)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Free Tibet has confirmed that 10 Tibetans were seriously injured when security forces opened fire on a peaceful protest in Lochung, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, on Tuesday (12 August) (1). At least two Tibetans are confirmed to have been shot (photographs available, 2). The cause of other injuries and the conditions of those injured is not known and communications have now been shut down in the area.

On 11 August, a village leader, Wangdak, was arrested following a dispute with local authorities. Villagers of Shukpa and Denma villages had been ordered to stage a celebration for the visit of senior officials. The villagers complained that the officials had harassed female members of the community dance troupe. Wangdak raised the concerns with local officials and also objected to the authorities accusing a traditional horse race and a prayer festival in the area of being illegal. He was arrested at midnight.

On 12 August, around 100 Tibetans gathered at local government offices in Lochung township . Armed security forces from neighbouring Sershul County arrived and deployed tear gas and live ammunition. Wangdak's son and brother Sangpo were shot with two bullets each. Injured community members were taken away by security forces. Although families were told they were being taken for medical treatment, at the time that communications were cut off, local Tibetans had been unable to find details of their condition and locations.

Further arrests took place on the evening of 12 August and more security forces were deployed in the village. On 13 August, the neighbouring Shukpa village was surrounded by armed forces. Many of its men had left the village to avoid arrest but the security forces beat and interrogated family members including women and children.

No further information is available due to communications restrictions in the area.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“This is the first confirmed shooting incident this year and it shows that Tibetans still risk being shot and killed for protesting against the authorities. China depends on the use and threat of violence to maintain order in Tibet, despite Tibetans’ ongoing commitment to peaceful forms of resistance. Foreign governments must speak out now to condemn China for this action.”

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Contact: Alistair Currie, campaigns and media manager, Free Tibet

T: +44 (0)207 324 4605
M: +44(0)780 165 4011
E: alistair@freetibet.org

Notes for Editors

(1) Location: Lochung township, Derge County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province (Chinese: Luoxu, Dege County, Ganzi TAP, Sichuan)
(2) Photographs available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/sets/72157646044473407/