Deadly New Violence Reported in Tibetan Area

The New York Times reports on a violent incident in which security officers opened fire on protesters in a Tibetan region in western Sichuan:

Security forces opened fire on Tibetan protesters in western China on Monday, injuring at least 32 people and killing at least one of them in the largest violent confrontation in ethnic Tibetan areas of China since 2008, two Tibetan rights group and the Tibetan exile government said.

[…] The incident on Monday was also the second reported shooting of Tibetan protesters in the past week and a half. The previous incident, on Jan. 14, in which two people were reported wounded, took place in Aba , also located in Sichuan province and 100 miles northeast of Luhuo.

The combination of increasingly frequent confrontations and rising casualties during these incidents, “underlines how the situation is escalating,” said Stephanie Brigden, the director of Free Tibet.

Chinese government agencies were closed on Monday in observance of the first day of lunar new year celebrations. The official Xinhua news agency had no report on the latest incident. Internet access to the area was cut off by the authorities, apparently to slow the dissemination of information.

Radio Free Asia has more details and reports that up to six people may have been killed:

“Today, Jan. 23, many Tibetans began a peaceful protest against Chinese rule at the Draggo (in Chinese, Luhuo) county center,” in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan living in the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“At least two Tibetans were shot to death, and over ten were injured,” after Chinese police “violently suppressed the protest,” the source said.

One of the protesters also attempted to set himself ablaze, the source added.

Tibet’s India-based exile government quoted sources saying six had been killed in what it described as “indiscriminate firing” by police.

Read about the other incident in which protesters were reported shot this month, as well as other recent protests by Tibetans including a spate of self-immolations in recent months, via CDT.

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