Tibetan shot dead in Ngaba prefecture

Friday, 27 January 2012

A Tibetan man, Urgen, aged between 18 and 21, was shot dead when Chinese state security forces opened fire on Tibetans in Barma Township, Dzamthang County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese: Zhongrangtang Township, Rangtang County, Aba Autonomous Prefecture) yesterday, Thursday 26 January 2012. An eyewitness described how Urgen fell to the ground when security forces opened fire, and that those who crowded around Urgen said that he was dead. Rumours spread through the crowd that at least four more people had been shot.

This is the third incident this week of Chinese security forces opening fire on unarmed Tibetans (1).

At approximately midday on Thursday, materials, described variously as leaflets or posters, were distributed in Barma. Someone who saw one of them said it stated that the self-immolations (2) will continue until Tibet is free and the Dalai Lama has returned.

The materials were apparently authored by a Tibetan man called Tharpa, in his early twenties, who included his name and photograph. There are reports that the materials contained a challenge from Tharpa to the authorities to come and arrest him. It is unclear whether this challenge was explicit, or whether the use of his name and photograph was interpreted as a challenge to the authorities.

Approximately two hours later, Chinese state security personnel, described as ‘police’ and ‘troops’, went to Tharpa’s father’s home to arrest him. The exact sequence of events is unclear. Tibetans gathered to try to block the route and stop Tharpa being arrested. Security forces opened fire, shooting at least one Tibetan (see above).

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“Chinese security forces are continuing to use lethal force against Tibetans. We have grave concerns that the situation will deteriorate in the coming days. China must hold those responsible for the shootings accountable and allow independent observers access to the region. The international community must demand that the disproportionate use of force stops immediately.

“Tharpa’s message and the response of those who gathered to protect him underline that this struggle will continue until Tibetans are given their freedom. That a young man would put his name and photograph to a public call for freedom, despite the risks, illustrates the conviction of Tibetans in their cause.

“The international community must support these incredibly courageous calls for freedom. China’s occupation of Tibet must come to an end.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

This release can be found online:

1) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/second-day-killing-tibet-two-more-shot-dead-many-more-injured-second-town
http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-killed-and-more-wounded-confirmed-draggo
2) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/selfimmolations

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
S: stephaniefreetibet