Bomb explosion reported in Tibet

27th October 2011

A bomb is reported to have damaged a municipal building in Karma Township, Chamdo County, Chamdo Prefecture, (Chinese: Gama, Changdu County, Changdu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region) at 4 a.m. on 26 October 2011, according to Tibet Express (1). Free Tibet is unable at this time to confirm this report.

The words “Tibet’s independence” were written on the walls of the damaged building.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“There is only circumstantial evidence that one or more Tibetans were responsible for the bombing of a municipal building in Chamdo. Given that the legal system in Tibet is not independent of political interference and convictions are often unsafe, we may never know who was responsible for this act. If Tibetans were responsible for the bombing, which happened in the early hours of the morning, this, along with the ten self-immolations - six this month alone - illustrates that protests against China’s occupation are escalating and spreading.

The situation in Tibet has become so desperate Tibetans are taking ever more extreme measures. China’s policies in Tibet have failed; the international community including the British Government have failed Tibetans - Tibetans have no recourse to political or legal processes.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

1) Tibet Express is a Tibetan news website and non-government organisation: http://www.tibetexpress.net/en/news/world/6860-2011-10-27-09-43-53

2) Summary of the escalating trend of self-immolation and protest in Tibet

There have been 10 self-immolations in Tibet since March 2011(see below). Self-immolation is not a traditional form of protest in Tibet and has evolved out of Tibetans’ determination to draw international attention to persistent and brutal violations of Tibetans’ human rights by the occupying Chinese regime.

All those who have self-immolated this year are Buddhist monks, former monks and one nun. Five of those who set fire to themselves have died; the well-being and whereabouts of the other five remain unknown.

Eight of the ten self-immolations have taken place in Ngaba Town, Eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), an area that has regularly seen tensions between local Tibetans and occupying Chinese state actors. In March 2008, 13 Tibetans were shot dead by Chinese security personnel. The first self-immolation this year took place on the third anniversary of that massacre.

China’s disproportionate response to that first self-immolation in March this year has included the deployment of large numbers of paramilitary People’s Armed Police to the area, arbitrary arrests, armed road blocks, house searches, interruption of internet, mobile and telephone communications. An estimated three hundred monks were forcibly removed from Kirti monastery, an enforced programme of ‘patriotic re-education’ ran at the monastery from March until August. Six monks have been sentenced in connection to the self-immolations in trials, regarded as unsafe by Free Tibet.

In Ngaba, internet cafes have been closed, internet and SMS services remain cut. The area is closed to foreign journalists and human rights monitors, and Tibetans risk severe penalties, including life imprisonment, for passing information to external contacts.

These self-immolations are not taking place in isolation, but are part of wider protests. Protests involving several hundred Tibetans took place in Serta Town, Serta County, Kandze prefecture (Chinese: Seda Township, Seda County, Garzi Prefecture, Sichuan) on 1 October 2011, when Chinese personnel removed a large Tibetan flag and a picture of the Dalai Lama that had been hung from a municipal building by a Tibetan.

In Khekor Township, 83 Km from Serta Town, also in Serta County, Kandze Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese: Kege Township, Seda County, Garzi Prefecture, Sichuan), protests took place on 15 and 16 October 2011; two Tibetans were shot by Chinese security services during the protest, outside the local police station, on 16 October 2011. In 2008, Chinese People’s Armed Police opened fire on protesters in Khekor Township, shooting two Tibetans, one of whom died.

1) Summary of the escalating trend of self-immolation and protest in Tibet

Self-immolation is not a traditional form of protest in Tibet and has evolved out of Tibetans’ determination to draw international attention to persistent and brutal violations of Tibetans’ human rights by the occupying Chinese regime.

All those who have self-immolated this year are Buddhist monks, former monks and one nun. Five of those who set fire to themselves have died; the well-being and whereabouts of the other five remain unknown.

Eight of the ten self-immolations have taken place in Ngaba Town, Eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), an area that has regularly seen tensions between local Tibetans and occupying Chinese state actors. In March 2008, 13 Tibetans were shot dead by Chinese security personnel. The first self-immolation this year took place on the third anniversary of that massacre.

China’s disproportionate response to that first self-immolation in March this year has included the deployment of large numbers of paramilitary People’s Armed Police to the area, arbitrary arrests, armed road blocks, house searches, interruption of internet, mobile and telephone communications. An estimated three hundred monks were forcibly removed from Kirti monastery, an enforced programme of ‘patriotic re-education’ ran at the monastery from March until August. Six monks have been sentenced in connection to the self-immolations in trials, regarded as unsafe by Free Tibet.

In Ngaba, internet cafes have been closed, internet and SMS services remain cut. The area is closed to foreign journalists and human rights monitors, and Tibetans risk severe penalties, including life imprisonment, for passing information to external contacts.

These self-immolations are not taking place in isolation, but are part of wider protests. Protests involving several hundred Tibetans took place in Serta Town, Serta County, Kandze prefecture (Chinese: Seda Township, Seda County, Garzi Prefecture, Sichuan) on 1 October 2011, when Chinese personnel removed a large Tibetan flag and a picture of the Dalai Lama that had been hung from a municipal building by a Tibetan.

In Khekor Township, 83 Km from Serta Town, also in Serta County, Kandze Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese: Kege Township, Seda County, Garzi Prefecture, Sichuan), protests took place on 15 and 16 October 2011; two Tibetans were shot by Chinese security services during the protest, outside the local police station, on 16 October 2011. In 2008, Chinese People’s Armed Police opened fire on protesters in Khekor Township, shooting two Tibetans, one of whom died.

Ends

Notes to Editor

1) Summary of the escalating trend of self-immolation in Tibet

Self-immolation is not a traditional form of protest in Tibet and appears to have evolved out of Tibetans’ desperation to draw international attention to persistent and brutal violations of Tibetans’ human rights by the occupying Chinese regime.

All those who have self-immolated this year are Buddhist monks, former monks and now, one nun. Four of those who set fire to themselves have died; the well-being and whereabouts of the other five remain unknown.

Eight of the nine self-immolations have taken place in Ngaba Town, eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba Town, Aba County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), an area that has regularly seen tensions between local Tibetans and occupying Chinese state actors. In March 2008, 13 Tibetans were shot dead by Chinese security personnel. The first self-immolation this year took place on the third anniversary of that massacre.

China’s disproportionate response to that first self-immolation in March this year has included the deployment of large numbers of paramilitary People’s Armed Police to the area, arbitrary arrests, armed road blocks, house searches, interruption of internet, mobile and telephone communications. An estimated three hundred monks were forcibly removed from Kirti monastery, an enforced programme of ‘patriotic re-education’ ran at the monastery from March until August. Six monks have been sentenced in connection to the self-immolations in trials, regarded as unsafe by Free Tibet. The number of monks in the monastery has fallen from an estimated 2,500 in March to an estimated 600 in October.

In Ngaba, internet cafes have been closed and SMS services remain cut. The area is closed to foreign journalists and human rights monitors, and Tibetans risk severe penalties, including life imprisonment for passing information to external contacts.

Chronology of self-immolations

16 March 2011: Phuntsog (21 yrs old; died), Ngaba: http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/160311-monk-self-immolation

15 August 2011: Tsewang Norbu (29 yrs old; died), Tawu, Kardze (Ch. Garzi), Sichuan : http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/monk-dies-after-setting-himself-fire-protest-tibet

26 September 2011: Lobsang Kalsang & Lobsang Konchok (18-19 yrs old; well-being & whereabouts unknown), Ngaba : http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-more-tibetan-monks-set-themselves-alight

3 October 2011: Kalsang Wangchuk (17-18 yrs old; well-being & whereabouts unknown), Ngaba, http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/fifth-monk-self-immolates

7 October 2011: Choepel, 19 and Khayang, 18; both are believed to have now died from their injuries, Ngaba, http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-teenagers-set-themselves-fire-rumours-many-more-ready

15 October 2011: Norbu Dathul (19 yrs old, well-being & whereabouts unknown), Ngaba, http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/photograph-tibetan-monk-following-self-immolation-emerges-eighth-tibetan-sets-fire-himself

2) Protests took place in Serthar on 15 and 16 October 2011. The township has a population of 130 families. In 2008, Chinese People’s Armed Police opened fire on protesters in Khekor Township, shooting two Tibetans, one of whom died. Khekor Township is 83km from Serthar Town where protests took place on 1 October 2011.

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden
E: stephanie@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7971 479515