Security personnel in Drango, eastern Tibet celebrated the Chinese new year firing at a crowd of unarmed protesting Tibetans earlier today.
Reports coming out of Drango region confirm the death of at least one Tibetan with many suffering serious injuries.
“One Tibetan layman, identified as Yonten, has died of gunshot after security officials clamped down on a protest in Drango County (Ch: Luhuo County) in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,” said the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in a release today.
The body of Yonten is reportedly kept at the Drango Monastery.
According to sources, the protests flared after local Chinese Public Security Bureau officials began to arbitrarily arrest Tibetans on suspicion of their involvement in the appearance of leaflets and posters around the town following the wave of self-immolations in the region. The posters had warned of more Tibetan self-immolations if the Chinese government did not listen to Tibetan concerns.
“Many Tibetans in the Drango area rose up in protest this morning. Many of the protesters were farmers and nomads,” TCHRD said.
“The Public Security Bureau and People’s Armed Police intervened by using guns to rein in the protesters,” the TCHRD said while confirming “serious injuries” to three monks from Drango Monastery.
In a separate release on today’s incidence, the Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said scores of Tibetans called for Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, following which the police indiscriminately fired on the peaceful demonstrators.
Though TCHRD confirmed one death, other sources are reporting that as many as six Tibetans could have suffered gunshots.
London based Free Tibet said that up to 30 Tibetans were shot this morning with local Tibetans avoiding taking the injured to hospital fearing arrest.
“The situation is ongoing and large numbers of Tibetans are reported to be travelling to Draggo from the surrounding areas of Serthar (Chinese:Seda) and Tawu (Chinese: Daofu) counties (also in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) to join the demonstration; large numbers of Tibetans are also gathering in Draggo monastery courtyard,” Free Tibet said.
In the past 11 months, 16 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves ablaze demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
“Tibetans have resorted to this desperate act out of sheer frustration against the policies and programs of the Chinese authorities aimed at eradicating the Tibetan identity,” TPiE said in its release.
“The Tibetan parliament is deeply aggrieved by the incidents and condemns the Chinese authorities for resorting to such drastic acts of force and repression”.
Expressing shock at the “silence” of the international community over the “gross violation of human rights in Tibet,” TPiE appealed to the free world to “rise up to the occasion and impress on China to find a lasting solution to the Issue of Tibet”.
“We call on China to respect the Tibetan people’s right to express themselves and look into the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people,” the elected Tibetan representatives said.