Chinese police shot dead another Tibetan on Thursday as they fired on protesters in southwest Sichuan province in a third day of bloodshed in Tibetan-populated areas this week.
Tibetan sources in exile said at least one man was reported killed and many more were injured when police opened fire on Tibetan protesters who tried to stop them from detaining a person who had put up a poster challenging Chinese rule.
“Today, Jan. 26, at around 12:00 noon [local time], a Tibetan named Tharpa put up a signed poster in Dzitoe Barma town,” located in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture's Dzamthang (in Chinese, Rangtang) county, India-based monks Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshe said in a written statement, citing sources in the region.
Ngaba is one of several Tibetan-populated regions of western China that have been rocked in recent years by protests, including 17 self-immolations, against rule by Beijing.
The poster declared that “Tibetans will never abandon their struggle and will continue to organize more campaigns until the demands of Tibetans who have self-immolated are met,” Tsering and Yeshe said.
The poster demanded freedom for Tibet and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and was signed. A photo of Tharpa was also attached, along with a message challenging Chinese police to “come and arrest” him, sources said.
“Later, at around 2:00 p.m., Chinese police and security forces surrounded Tharpa’s home and took him into custody,” Tsering and Yeshe said.
“A large crowd gathered outside the house to prevent police from taking him away, saying that all local Tibetans would rise up in protest if Tharpa was detained.”
“Police then fired on the crowd, killing one Tibetan on the spot and injuring many more,” they said.
“Over 10,000 Tibetans from the neighboring regions of Dzitoe and Dzime have now arrived at Barma town, and the situation is very tense.”
RFA could not independently confirm the figure due to communication problems in the area following enhanced security measures imposed earlier this week.
But a Tibetan named Tsangyang Gyatso, also living in India, confirmed the account and the numbers of Tibetans involved, citing information provided to him by a witness to the shooting.
Chinese security forces have become more aggressive of late in containing Tibet protests.
Beijing said two Tibetans were killed in protests Draggo (in Chinese, Luhuo) county on Monday and Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county on Tuesday in the the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Rights and exile groups believe at least six were killed and 60 injured, some critically, in the two areas. Advocacy groups said it was the largest reported shooting of Tibetans since bloody protests against Chinese rule in March 2008.
Chinese official media blamed the unrest on "mobs" armed with knives and stones who had "opened fire" on local police.
The Draggo protests were triggered by Chinese demands that local Tibetans celebrate the Lunar New Year against the wishes of residents saddened by earlier protest deaths, while the Serthar demonstration was fueled by calls for more self-immolations, local sources said.
Reported by Rigdhen Dolma and Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.