Chinese security forces use tear gas against Tibetan protestors
Chinese security forces fired tear gas at Tibetan protesters in Meruma Township, Ngaba County, Eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba County, Sichuan Province) today, 23 January 2012. Tibetans had gathered to protest Chinese oppression on the occasion of Chinese New Year, having decided that they would not celebrate the lunar New Year because of the current repression in Tibet. Additional security forces have been deployed in the area and roads connecting Ngaba to the surrounding counties have been closed by the authorities.
On 14 January 2012 in Ngaba, a Tibetan woman was shot by Chinese security forces and tear gas used on protesters who gathered following the self-immolation and death of Tibetan former monk Lobsang Jamyang (1).
Eleven Tibetans have set fire to themselves in Ngaba since March 2011, in protest at Chinese repression in Tibet; of those 11, eight have died and the well-being and whereabouts of the remaining three are unknown (2). The Chinese response has been disproportionate: large numbers of security forces have been deployed in Ngaba over the last nine months, patrolling the streets, manning checkpoints and ready to respond to signs of unrest; house-to-house searches have been conducted; internet services have been shut down for the entire time and telecommunications are regularly shut down. Self-immolations and protests have spread to other areas of Tibet (3).
Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden expressed concern at the disproportionate response of the Chinese regime to Tibetan protests:
“Tensions in Ngaba County reflect the deepening crisis in Tibet. Protests are spreading and growing, and the Chinese state response is becoming increasingly disproportionate. By failing to address legitimate Tibetan grievances and responding to protests with brutal force, the Chinese state is exacerbating the situation. Just today, lethal force has been used against unarmed protesters in Draggu in Kandze, while in Ngaba tear gas is being used against Tibetan protesters. The international community must condemn this disproportionate response and demand restraint on the part of Chinese state actors.”
Notes to Editor
2) Details of previous self-immolations www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations
3) Map of self-immolations http://www.freetibet.org/files/Tibet-Map_Immolations_0.jpg
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
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