Unarmed youth shot in Tibet attempting to mark uprising anniversary
Injured after refusing to obey police order
Chinese police shot and injured a young Tibetan man on Tuesday (10th March) in Draggo, south-east Tibet (1).
The youth named Tamdin was shot in the thigh (photographs available, 2) while travelling by motorbike with friends to hang prayer flags and make a smoke offering to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the uprising against Chinese rule on 10 March 1959.
The friends refused to stop when ordered to do so by police, telling the police that their offerings were not related to political issues and they were within their rights to carry out the rituals.
Police opened fire when they continued on the motorbikes, injuring Tamdin's right thigh - his friends escaped unhurt. The whereabouts of any of the three and Tamdin's current condition are unknown due to tightened security and the cutting off of communications in the area.
Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:
“March is always a tense time in Tibet. It’s little wonder that a Tibetan has been shot when Tibetan areas have been flooded with security forces, primed for trouble and trigger-happy. On this occasion, an unarmed boy on a motorcycle was shot for wanting to make some religious offerings. So far it appears that China’s show of force has deterred major protests but such intimidation tactics only build up resentment and anger and are utterly counterproductive in the longer term.”
March is a traditional time of tension in Tibet because of the anniversary of the uprising. The nationwide disturbances of 2008 began in March and the first of the ongoing wave of self-immolations was in March 2011 (3). In preparation for the anniversary, security in Tibet is normally increased by the authorities and there have been significant military build-ups in several parts of Tibet this year (4). Photographs have emerged of a massive military presence at the Monlam prayer festival in eastern Tibet, featuring dense ranks of fully armed soldiers and armoured vehicles at the monastery courtyard (photos available, 5).
Draggo County’s already enhanced security presence in the run up to 10th March has increased following the shooting, with a significant number of police and military security forces in the area. Local Tibetans were prevented from gathering on 10th March but many people and monasteries made individual offerings to mark the day.
In January 2012, at least 36 unarmed Tibetans were injured in Draggo when security forces opened fire on a protest. Two were killed (6).
For further information, comment and photographs, contact Free Tibet campaigns and media manager Alistair Currie:
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605
Notes to editors
(1) Location: Draggo (also known as Drango) (Ch: Luhuo) county, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan.
(2) Photos on flickr
(3) Full list of self-immolation protesters in Tibet
(4) Free Tibet news story, 4 March
(5) Free Tibet news story and slideshow
(6) Free Tibet press release, 23 February 2012