Chinese police last week attacked and beat a group of villagers in Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture who arrived late for a lecture on public health, sending several to the hospital and detaining others in a county jail, Tibetan sources say.
News of the incident was briefly delayed in reaching outside media contacts owing to communications clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.
The Dec. 28 police assault began after the head of Karma township in the prefecture’s Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) county arrived at Damdo village and summoned residents to a meeting, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
The township leader was accompanied by another official and by armed police, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“When some of the local Tibetans arrived late for the meeting, the officials and police savagely beat them and detained six of them,” the source said.
“Many of them were rushed to hospital, and many others had to be carried to their homes,” he said, adding, “Some of the locals who tried to pacify the situation were also beaten up.”
The six detained Tibetans are now being held in Chamdo county’s detention center, he said.
Speaking separately, a second local source told RFA that the meeting had been called to discuss the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and that about 100 Tibetans had attended.
“About 20 could not arrive at the meeting on time, though, and they were severely beaten up,” the source said, adding that several women in attendance tried to stop the police assault and were then attacked themselves.
“It was like a replay of the atrocities of [China’s] Cultural Revolution,” he said.
Family homes raided
Following the assault, police and local authorities raided and searched family homes, questioning those found at home, one source said.
“The officials and police of Karma township in Chamdo are uneducated and corrupt, and they misuse government funds for their own benefit,” the source said.
“When higher-level officials come to the town to ask about government assistance programs, the local Tibetans are not allowed to speak freely,” he said.
“Damdo village itself has never received any government assistance.”
Reached by phone for comment, an officer at the Karma township police station denied the attack had occurred, calling the report “nonsense.”
Chinese campaigns to monitor the political views of Tibetan villagers have been particularly intrusive in Chamdo prefecture, with families forced to display photographs of Chinese national leaders, and monasteries and private homes ordered to fly the Chinese national flag from their roofs, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.