Thonkor killings

Friday, 4 April 2008

Reliable sources have told Free Tibet Campaign that eight Tibetan protesters were shot dead on April 3 by Chinese security officials in the monastery town of Thongkor (Ch: Donggu) in the heavily Tibetan-populated area of Gardze Prefecture in Sichuan Province (the Tibetan area of Kham).

The sources told Free Tibet Campaign that the unrest started after a government delegation visited Tongkhor monastery on April 2 and attempted to force the local monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and the recent protests as part of a “patriotic re-education” session.

The sources said that a senior monk at the monastery, the chantmaster Lobsang Jamyang, refused to co-operate with the authorities. He then called a meeting of the monks and announced that he would not denounce the Dalai Lama, even if it cost him his life. The monks voted to refuse to co-operate with the authorities and, according to the sources, around 3,000 armed police arrived at the monastery that same afternoon (April 2).

The sources said that the police raided the monastery and arrested two monks, Geshi Sonam Tenzing and Tsultrim Phuntsog, who were found to possess photos of the Dalai Lama.

On the following day 370 monks from the monastery marched with 400 Tibetan laypeople to the buildings of the civil authority in the town. The protesters were demanding the release of the arrested monks and also chanted “We don’t have freedom” and “Dalai Lama must return to Tibet”.

The protesters found the road into town blocked by hundreds of armed police according to the sources who said that a stand-off ensued. The police fired from machine guns into the crowd, killing at least eight of the protesters according to the sources.

The sources named those killed as one monk called Zamphel; three Tibetan women named Tsering Yangzom, Druklot Tso with the third the daughter of a Tibetan man called Sangay; three Tibetan lay men called Delek, Tenlung and Tsering Phuntsog.

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

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For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
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