Sound of China’s machine guns on shocking video

21st October 2013

Exclusive footage of environment protest in Tibet

Free Tibet has obtained shocking footage of China’s security forces breaking up an anti-mining protest in Yushu County this August. The video is at the foot of this page. The disturbing series of videos end with Tibetans panicking at the sound of machine gun fire. Shortly after, the protest was broken up with the use of tear gas and beatings.

“Please leave us alone”

The video, filmed on 16 August, shows hundreds of peaceful demonstrators sitting down at the mining site, where they had established a camp three days earlier. Police film the protesters as many hold their thumbs up, a request for clemency in Tibet. Shaky footage then shows tension rising, with sounds of distress among the Tibetans and shouts of “please leave us alone”, “they’re arresting people at the front” and “don’t fight back”. Moments later, the sound of automatic gunfire is heard amid screams from the crowd. An edited version of the video can be seen below.

Shootings and beatings

On this occasion the police only fired into the air but 14 Tibetans were hospitalised after security forces broke up the demonstration. Electric batons were reported to be used. In September, 60 Tibetans were injured in the Tibet Autonomous Region when police fired into a crowd of demonstrators and beat them severely. In July, Tibetans were severely injured in Tawu, east Tibet, after security forces fired on a crowd gathered to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama. In 2010, a Tibetan was reportedly shot dead at a mining protest.

Tibet’s resistance

China’s policy in Tibet is lockdown. Communications are monitored and the internet regularly shut down. Tibetans continue to risk arrest, torture and worse to expose the truth. In the words of the courageous Tibetan who took this video: "In order to highlight what is taking place in my home to the world community, I took these photos and videos and I don't mind being arrested if they bring a spotlight on the issue of Chinese mining in Tibet."

China faces the UN

The video is released as China faces a grilling at the United Nations about its human rights record. All UN members face a “Universal Periodic Review” every four years, in which their diplomats face questioning from other UN states. Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch submitted evidence to the UN earlier in the year and in the run-up to the session has lobbied governments to raise Tibet in their questions this Tuesday.

Take action

Sign our petition to China’s president, Xi Jinping,demanding an end to human rights abuses in Tibet.