Pregnant wife of Tibetan teenager killed by security forces commits suicide

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

UPDATE: DECEMBER 2014
This press release originally stated that the story was unconfirmed. Subsequent research by Free Tibet's research partner Tibet Watch has still been unable to confirm the death of Jinpa Tharchin's wife and according to some reports she is still alive. The current confirmed total of deaths is four. For more information on the 12 August shootings see the Tibet Watch report Crackdown in Kardze

Sixth Tibetan death resulting from shooting of protesters on 12 August

Following the incident when 10 unarmed Tibetan protesters were shot in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on Tuesday 12 August (1,2), a reliable source has reported that the pregnant wife of 18-year-old Jinpa Tharchin who died of his injuries on 18 August, hanged herself on the same day. She was seven months pregnant. Her name is currently unknown.

Four Tibetans are confirmed to have died from injuries sustained during the shooting and a fifth injured detainee killed himself in protest against the denial of medical treatment to the shot prisoners (3).

The same source also reported that a 64-year-old woman named Dawa Lhamo was beaten so badly in detention that she has suffered a brain haemorrhage, making her immobile and unable to speak. She was transferred to hospital on 23 August. Dawa Lhamo is the aunt of Wangdak, the village leader whose arrest sparked the original protest. Wangdak’s whereabouts remain unknown.

According to the same source, during the shooting, a policeman was accidentally shot in the neck by security forces and died. Whether he was Tibetan or Chinese is not known. No public statements by the authorities regarding the shooting or any of the deaths have been reported by state media and no further information is available.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“Communication restrictions currently make it impossible to get a full and accurate picture of the current situation but what we do know is that China’s brutal response to a legitimate Tibetan protest has already brought immense suffering to this community. All of these deaths are a direct result of China’s continued occupation of Tibet and suppression by force of any sign of dissent by Tibetans. Deaths and human rights abuses will only end when the occupation ends.”

Information provided by Tibet Watch.

NOTE: This information was provided direct to Tibet Watch, Free Tibet’s research partner, but it has not been possible for Tibet Watch to fully verify it. Free Tibet is releasing this report as ‘unconfirmed’ as it is unlikely that verification will be possible in the immediate future.

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Contact: Alistair Currie, campaigns and media manager, Free Tibet

T: +44 (0)207 324 4605
E: alistair@freetibet.org

Notes for Editors

(1) Location: Lochung township, Derge County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province (Chinese: Luoxu, Dege County, Ganzi TAP, Sichuan)
(2) Free Tibet press release: 14 August 2014 http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/chinese-forces-fire-tibetan-protesters-10-seriously-injured-pictures Photographs from original demonstration (including injuries) available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/sets/72157646044473407/
(3) Free Tibet press releases: 18 August 2014 http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/two-tibetans-die-custody-after-being-shot-security-forces-last-week; 20 August 2014 http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/three-more-tibetans-die-injuries-following-kardze-shooting-five-deaths-total