Authorities in China’s Qinghai province detained about 40 Tibetans following a clash with police over a dispute about compensation for the family of a Tibetan motorcyclist who was knocked down and killed by a Chinese truck driver, according to a source.
Relatives and friends of the victim, identified as Soebey, said the driver was convicted of manslaughter and ordered to pay a compensation of 400,000 yuan (U.S. $65,000) to the victim’s family, but he paid only one-eighth of the amount and police let the defendant off scot free, the sources said.
When the local Tibetan community found out what had happened, they became enraged and demanded that the police answer for freeing the truck driver.
“On July 25, relatives, friends and others went to the police station and complained about the release of the driver. They also demanded explanation for their decision to grant his release. But when the police refused to explain, the tension led to a clash between the two sides,” the source said.
“During this clash one police officer was injured. Soon after, several People’s Armed Police (PAP) arrived and detained about 40 Tibetans. In the confrontation [with the PAP], many Tibetans, including [Soebey’s] relatives were severely injured.”
The source said that the injured Tibetans had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
He did not provide information about where the detained Tibetans were being held or whether they were being charged.
Authorities have stepped up security in Darlag county following the clash, the source said, adding that movement and communications had been restricted in the area.
“At present additional police and PAP have been deployed to the county center,” he said.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 131 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Kusang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.