Six days after nearly a dozen Tibetan peaceful protesters were shot and detained by Chinese police in Sichuan province, some of them have bullets still embedded in their bodies as they are denied medical care while in custody, according to exile sources.
The situation has become so acute that one of the wounded committed suicide Sunday in protest against the "torture" committed by Chinese authorities while another died of untreated wounds at the detention center in Loshu (in Chinese, Luoxu) township in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
On Aug. 12, Chinese police opened fire and detained scores of Tibetans as they broke up a mass protest against the arrest a day earlier of a respected leader in Kardze's Shopa village in Sershul ( Shiqu) county.
Village leader Dema Wangdak was held after he complained to the authorities over the harassment of Tibetan women by senior Chinese officials at a cultural performance during their visit to the county, according to sources.
“On Sunday, one of the detainees, Lo Palsang [from Shupa village] killed himself in detention in protest against the torture by the Chinese authorities," Demay Gyaltsen, a Tibetan living in exile in India, told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing local contacts.
"On the same day, another detainee, a 22-year-old man, died from injuries,” he said.
A Tibetan protester showing gunshot wounds in his abdomen.
Gyaltsen said he was informed that the gunshot wounds of several detainees, including the son of Wangdak, have been left unattended six days after the shooting, raising concerns about their medical condition while under custody.
“Several of the wounded, including Kunga Sherab, the son of the village leader Wangdak, have been left without the bullets removed from their bodies," he said.
Sherab is in "critical condition," he said.
A meditation instructor, Karma Rinchen, of the local Miru monastery is also among the detainees but his condition is not immediately known. Capacity
Sources said that initially, the detention center in Loshu had reached full capacity and several of the detainees had to be kept at a hospital.
"Some of them were given medical treatment when they were at the hospital but now all of them have been brought back to the detention center while being denied any further medical attention," Gyaltsen said.
The detainees had their heads shaved and were not allowed visitors, he said.
Tibetans in Kardze prefecture are known for their strong sense of Tibetan identity and nationalism, and “the political climate in the region has been deeply oppressive,” the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an advocacy group, said in a report last week.
Last year, at least eight Tibetans were injured when Chinese police fired gunshots and used tear gas to disperse about 1,000 monks and nuns who had gathered in a restive county in Kardze in July to mark the birthday of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Some 131 Tibetans to date have set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.Reported by Yangdon Demo for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.