Tibetans Injured in Chinese Gang Attack Over Land Dispute

2013-07-21
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An unidentified Tibetan injured in the Chinese gang attack recovering in a Gansu hospital, July 17, 2013.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

More than a dozen Tibetans were severely injured in an attack by a 100-strong armed Chinese gang over a long running land dispute in a village in Qinghai province, according to sources at the weekend.

The attack occurred last Wednesday in the Tibetan-populated Arik Dragkar village in Dola (in Chinese, Qilian) county on the border with the Chinese township of Tsomen in Minle in Gansu province.

The Tibetans have been locked in a land dispute with the residents of Tsomen for decades but the latest attack on a Tibetan security post in the village was among the bloodiest, with at least 17 seriously wounded, one Tibetan in the area said.

Lightning raid

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One of the Tibetans who suffered broken legs.

The Tsomen residents allegedly hired a Chinese gang of about 100 who launched a lightning raid on theĀ  post manned by Tibetans living in tents.

"They came in motor vehicles and on horses and were armed with crude weapons using nails, stones, and sticks," a resident told RFA's Tibetan Service.

"There were about 30 Tibetans [at the security post] and 17 of them were severely injured. Others managed to escape to the hills," he said.

Officials and police from Dola and Minle counties arrived at the scene and restored calm, residents said.

Rabten, the head of the Dragkar village, was among those severely injured and receiving treatment at a hospital in Gansu.

"Both the hands and legs of Rabten were broken," another resident said, adding that most of the others suffered serious wounds in their head and legs.

The Tibetans from Tsomen village called for reinforcements in a bid to attack the Minle police but were advised against doing so by officials in Doha county, which comes under Qinghai's Tsojang (in Chinese, Haibei) Tibetan Autonomous prefecture.
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Another unidentified Tibetan wounded in the attack.

Residents in Tibetan-populated areas in Qinghai have long been engulfed in land disputes amid allegations that the Chinese authorities in some cases have been seizing their land and giving it to new Chinese migrants.

In April, Chinese security forces detained 21 Tibetans following clashes with police over a forced demolition of recently rebuilt homes in the earthquake-hit town of Kyegudo in the Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

At least six Tibetans and four policemen were injured in the clashes after a protest by over 100 area residents angered by the demolition of Tibetan homes in Kyegudo.

The town was mostly destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed almost 3,000 residents by official count.

Now, Chinese authorities have begun to demolish rebuilt Tibetan homes, saying their occupants are not officially registered to live in the town, sources said.

Many of the houses were built by families on their own land and with their own resources, sources said.

In late March, a Tibetan woman set herself on fire to protest the demolition of her home in the Kyegudo area.

A total of 121 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009.

Reported by Lumbum Tashi, Chakmo Tso and Yandon Demo. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.