Three More Detained Tibetan Protesters Die From Gunshot Wounds

Tibetans shouting slogans at the protest in Loshu township in Sershul county in Sichuan province's Kardze prefecture, Aug 12, 2014.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Three more Tibetans have died of untreated gunshot wounds after Chinese authorities fired on peaceful protesters last week in Sichuan Province and refused to treat the dozens who were injured and detained, according to sources Tuesday.  

The bodies of the three, all members of the same household, were returned to their families on Monday after they succumbed to their injuries at the detention center in Loshu township in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Two protesters had previously died at the detention center on Sunday, one committing suicide in protest against "torture" at the hands of Chinese authorities and another dying of untreated wounds, exile sources had said.

The five who died were among dozens detained after Chinese police fired into a protest by hundreds in Shukpa village in Sershul (Shiqu) county on Aug. 12.

Many of those detained who had gunshot wounds were left untreated for a week with bullets still embedded in their bodies.

It was not clear when the three Tibetans died at the detention center, but their bodies were returned on Monday, exile sources said,

They were identified as Tsewang Gonpo, 60; Yeshe, 42; and Jinpa Tharchin, 18.

“They were refused medical care and had been tortured by the Chinese authorities,” Demay Gyaltsen, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday, citing local sources.

“They succumbed to their injuries in custody, and their bodies were returned to their families on Aug. 18,” Gyaltsen said.

Gonpo, the elder of the three who died, was the uncle of Dema Wangdak, a local village leader, whose detention by police on Aug. 11 sparked the mass protest the next day.

'Acting with impunity'

A Tibetan protester showing gunshot wounds in his abdomen.
A Tibetan protester showing gunshot wounds in his abdomen.
A Tibetan protester showing gunshot wounds in his abdomen.

Tibet advocacy groups  have slammed the Chinese authorities, who have been accused of blatant rights abuses in Tibet, for acting with impunity.

“This alarming news indicates that the authorities in this area are apparently acting with complete and dangerous impunity,” Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said in a statement on Monday.

“As a matter of urgency, the international community must express its abhorrence of these acts by officials and paramilitary police in Kardze and call upon the central leadership in Beijing to ensure that the wounded are allowed medical treatment and released from custody, and that the detentions of Tibetans following the protest must end.”

Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Deputy Speaker of the exile Tibetan Parliament in India, urged the Chinese government to release the “innocent” Tibetans and allow a fact-finding team and the international media to enter the area to investigate the deadly shooting incident.

A group of Tibetans in New York protested outside the United Nations headquarters since Monday, asking the world body to help stop what they called Chinese atrocities on Tibetans.

Meanwhile Chinese authorities summoned Tibetan residents of Loshu township to a meeting Monday to accuse the detained village leader of embezzlement, Gyaltsen said.

“On Aug. 18, the people of Denkor district in Loshu were summoned to a public meeting in which authorities urged people to spread the word that Wangdak’s detention was not related to horse racing or making incense offerings, but rather was due to his embezzlement of public funds.”

Only a few people attended the meeting, though, Gyaltsen said.

“Because of this, the authorities have scheduled a further meeting for Aug. 19 to repeat their baseless accusations,” Gyaltsen said.

National identity

Tibetans in Kardze prefecture are known for their strong sense of Tibetan identity and nationalism, and “the political climate in the region has been deeply oppressive,” the ICT said in a report last week.

Last year, at least eight Tibetans were injured when Chinese police fired gunshots and used tear gas to disperse about 1,000 monks and nuns who had gathered in a restive county in Kardze in July to mark the birthday of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

Reported by Pema Ngodup, Sonam Wangdue and Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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