A young Tibetan was beaten to death by police during a clash last week in northwestern China’s Qinghai province after county officials ordered villagers to vote for a government-backed candidate for local office instead of the candidate they preferred, according to Tibetan sources.
The Dec. 7 incident occurred after arguments disrupted an electoral meeting attended by residents and officials of Taktak township in Darlag (in Chinese, Dari) county in the Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, sources said.
During the verbal clash, “a Tibetan student named Karmey was detained by local police when he was found using a phone somewhere near the police station,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week.
“He was held in the police detention center and severely beaten, and he died as a result on Dec. 7,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
News of Karmey’s death was delayed due to communication blocks imposed by Chinese authorities in the area following the clash.
Karmey’s body was returned to family members on Dec. 8 along with a compensation payment of 10,000 yuan (U.S. $1,607), RFA’s source said.
“However, during talks between Karmey’s family members and county officials, it was agreed that the incident would not be publicized,” he said.
A further payment of 70,000 yuan (U.S. $11,250) was then promised, along with monthly payments of an unknown amount to Karmey’s parents.
“The government also promised to build a house for the family,” the source said.
The Dec. 7 clash in Taktak arose when local Tibetans argued with officials over who should be elected to a local post, with officials insisting that a man named Tenkyab—the candidate favored by the government—should be voted in, a source told RFA in an earlier report.
“The public proposed instead to elect a candidate named Lokar, a man with 16 years of experience, and this so angered the officials that they reacted violently,” he said.
Darlag county leader Rinchen Tso shouted at the crowd, the source said, adding that the enraged official also attacked two villagers,Tsephel and Tsekyab of the Kangdotsang family, grabbing them by the hair and beating them.
“This was followed by a verbal clash between the public and officials, with Rinchen Tso forcing villagers to hand over many of the votes that had already been cast,” he said.
The Tibetans then dispersed and returned home, with some later expressing regret over the officials’ anger that they had not taken part in the vote, the source said.
Differences over the election have not been resolved, though the government-backed candidate is now functioning in office, the source said.
“The local people did not elect him, though,” he said.
Security in Darlag was earlier stepped up following a July clash stemming from the death of a Tibetan knocked down by a Chinese truck driver, sources said.
Eight among 40 Tibetans initially detained following the July 25 clash were later jailed.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.