One Tibetan shot dead, many more injured in Draggo
A Tibetan man, Yonten, has been shot dead and it is understood that up to 31 more have been shot and injured, according to eye witnesses, when Chinese security forces opened fire on a large number of unarmed Tibetan protesters today at approximately 12pm in Draggo (1), Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese: Luhuo, Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province).
The situation is ongoing and large numbers of Tibetans are reported to be travelling to Draggo from the surrounding areas of Serthar (Chinese:Seda) and Tawu (Chinese: Daofu) counties (also in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) to join the demonstration; large numbers of Tibetans are also gathering in Draggo monastery courtyard.
Free Tibet has the names of 31 of the injured, comprising lay people and monks. One of the victims is described as having a bullet wound in his belly. Local Tibetans are afraid to take the injured to hospital in case they are arrested.
According to a secondary source, the demonstration began in response to the arrest of a number of Tibetans early this morning in relation to pamphlets that have been distributed in the area with the slogan “Tibet needs Freedom” and which state that more Tibetans are ready to self-immolate. We also understand that many Tibetans in the area have decided not to celebrate Chinese New Year, celebrated today, 23 January 2012, because of the situation in Tibet; Chinese celebrations may also have moved Tibetans to gather and call for their freedom.
The sequence of events is unclear but we know that up to several thousand Tibetans gathered at an intersection in Draggo and then marched approximately half a mile to the local government offices; it was outside the government offices that the security forces opened fire.
Free Tibet Director calls on the international community to take urgent action in response to today’s events:
“The international community must immediately and unequivocally condemn these shootings and call on China to act with restraint and hold accountable those responsible for opening fire. This is the largest reported shooting of Tibetans since 2008 and demonstrates the deepening crisis in Tibet. The situation in Draggo is on-going and there are reports that large numbers of Tibetans are gathering from surrounding towns and villages as news spreads of arrests and shootings.”
Notes to Editor
1) Draggo is also known as Drango (spelling of Tibetan names varies)
Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.
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