News / Asia

Tibetan Deaths in Chinese Police Custody Draw International Scrutiny

Shannon Van Sant

International rights groups are speaking out about the deaths of several Tibetans in police custody this week. The Tibetans were arrested during protests in southwestern China, a region that has seen protests and self-immolations over the last few years by Tibetans opposing Beijing's policies.

Five Tibetans died this week after a protest in China’s Sichuan Province. International rights groups who contacted local eyewitnesses said police opened fire on the demonstrators, and five died after being denied medical treatment while in police custody.

Alistair Currie with Free Tibet, a London-based NGO, says that hundreds of people had been protesting when police began shooting.

“The police opened fire on them. At the time there were 10 serious injuries.  Since then we have learned that 5 people have died in custody. One of those people committed suicide in protest against the denial of medical treatment, and as far as we are aware none of the injured have had proper medical treatment,” said Currie.

Tsewang Gonpo, 60, Yeshe, 42, and Jinpa Tharchin, 18, died of gunshot wounds.  According to the Washington-based rights group International Campaign for Tibet, the one who committed suicide was named Lo Palsang. Another unnamed person died of untreated wounds sustained during the protest.

They had joined about 100 Tibetans to protest the detention of a Tibetan village leader in Ganzi (Garze) prefecture, who was arrested earlier this month after he complained about the harassment of local women by government authorities.

Mass protests spread

Currie says mass demonstrations over a broad range of issues have spread throughout Tibetan regions.

“We’ve seen an increase in mass protests, in sort of large, numbers of people protesting against various issues from environmental destruction to the actions of the security forces,” said Currie.

The protests occurred in an area bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region, where unrest and demonstrations are common.

“Opening fire with live ammunition is relatively rare but in the last year we’ve known of two other occasions in which this has happened.  Tibetans face the risk of death for any sort of protest of this nature,” said Currie.

In recent years more than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest of Chinese government policy. Some protesters speak out against perceived discrimination and prejudice from Han Chinese, others say they are demonstrating for religious freedom and the return of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who has been in exile since 1959.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid