Two Tibetans die in custody after being shot by security forces last week

Monday, 18 August 2014

UPDATE: DECEMBER 2014
Further investigation by Free Tibet's research partner Tibet Watch has not confirmed the suicide of Lo Phelsang, as reported here, and there are indications that the story is incorrect. Three deaths of protesters in total have been confirmed: Tsewang Gongpo, Yeshe and Jinpa Tharchin who all died of untreated injuries. A policeman was killed in the incident after being accidentally shot by security forces but his name and whether he was Chinese or Tibetan is not known. The current confirmed total of deaths is therefore four. For more information on the 12 August shootings see the Tibet Watch report Crackdown in Kardze

Lo Phelsang commits suicide; unnamed man succumbs to injuries

Following the incident when 10 unarmed Tibetan protesters were shot in Lochung, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, on Tuesday 12 August (1,2), the deaths of two of those injured have been confirmed. On Sunday 17 August, Lo Phelsang killed himself in detention in Lochung in protest against the denial of medical treatment to detainees and another, unnamed, 22- year-old Tibetan man died from his injuries.

Some Tibetans injured in the original incident were initially taken to hospital but have since been taken back to detention centres and have not received further medical treatment. Others remain in hospital but have not yet had bullets removed. Further details are not available due to communications restrictions in the area.

The shooting occurred after the arrest of a village leader on 11 August who had been in dispute with authorities over the harassment of female community members by officials and the authorities declaring local festivals illegal. Around 100 Tibetans gathered the next day, 12 August, to protest against his detention and security forces opened fire, injuring at least 10.

Following the arrests on 12 August, all male villagers of Shukpa village over the age of 12 have now been arrested, with the exception of a few very old men. Around 200 are thought to be in detention: the names of 25 have been confirmed (3).

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“The deaths of these two Tibetan men are tragic and criminal. No one should be shot for peacefully protesting the arrest of a man who was simply challenging the authorities over their treatment of his community. The remaining injured Tibetans must receive medical treatment immediately and all those in detention be released. This incident is a stark reminder of the brutality and violence of China’s occupation of Tibet and the urgent need for the international community to hold China to account for its crimes there.”

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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) Full list of those detained: Wangchen, Lo Phelsang (who committed suicide), Pema Gyalpo, Yonten Kyab, Taga, Kunga Tenzin, Dawa Tashi, Karma Tashi, Tashi Gonpo, Kunga Sherab, Yeshi, Jamyang Sonam, Tashi, Tsering, Galuk, Thupten Cheophel, Lakyab, Bhumo, Tsogyal, Bugyal, Yangchen Lhamo (female), Tsekyab Wangmo (female),Yeshi Dolma (female), Yangchen Phamo (female), and Karma Rinchen.