Tibetans shot following protest in Drango

Friday, 17 February 2012

According to a source from Tibet, two brothers - Yeshi Rigsel and Yeshi Samdup (1) - were shot dead by security forces in Drango (Draggo) County (2) on 9 February 2012.

 Free Tibet is unable to confirm the exact sequence of events which led to the deaths due to restrictions on communications from the area and a climate of fear and intimidation.

 Yeshi Rigsel was taking photographs of a protest in Drango on 23 January. Chinese security forces opened fire on Tibetans, killing two and wounding at least 34 others; the largest known shooting since 2008 (3). He was beaten by security forces and sustained a gunshot wound to his arm at some point.

 After the protest, those involved were rounded up by security forces using footage from surveillance cameras. Local people say that some people fled to the nearby mountains. They describe an atmosphere of fear in the community with people leaving Drango in large numbers.

 Yeshi Rigsel and Yeshi Samdup went into hiding after the protest. On 9 February, the brothers visited their family home in Norpa Village. The exact sequence of events is unclear, but at some point in the day, they were shot dead by Chinese state security personnel. Chinese government-owned Ganzi Daily News reported that two ‘murder suspects’ resisted arrest and shot at police officers, killing one and injuring two others.

 Also on 9 February, a third brother, Yonten Sangpo, was injured and taken away by security personnel. The mother of the three men, Yonten’s daughter, and his two nieces, one aged 14 and one younger, were also taken away. The whereabouts of the family remain unknown.

 Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

 “Until China allows independent observers and the international media into Tibet, we will never truly know the full details of events and their repercussions. Information that girls of 14 years and younger are being taken by security personnel raises grave concerns.

 “Tibetans are risking arrest to share information with the outside world with the expectation that the international community will act. These calls are falling on deaf ears. The international community must act.”



Notes to Editors

1) Yeshi Rigsel, a monk at Drango Monastery aged 40, and Yeshi Samdup, 38, were from Norpa Village, Norchung Township, Drango County.

2) Chinese: Luhuo, Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The Tibetan name Drango is also spelled Draggo.

3) See Free Tibet press releases:

i) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/Tibetans-shot-one-dead-many-injured-in-Draggo

ii) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-killed-and-more-wounded-confirmed-draggo

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.

For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

E: stephanie@freetibet.org
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