Aug 30, 2010

Tibet: Reports of Deaths After Peaceful Protest

Protesters in Tibet calling for the halt to extension plans of a gold mine in their locality were brutalised and shot at by police. The event was related to the extreme detriment that the developments had made to the villagers livelihoods, environment and standard of living.

Below is an article published by Tibetan Review:


Chinese police in Palyul (Chinese: Baiyu) County of Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture in Sichuan Province have on Aug 17 [2010] opened fire on a group of Tibetan villagers petitioning against a greatly expanded Chinese gold mining operation in their area, killing at least four people, reported Radio Free Asia Online (RFA) Aug 26 [2010] and other sources. They were demanding compensation from the government for environmental damages and livelihood harms they had suffered from the mining operation.

Thirty other Tibetans were reported to be seriously injured with bullet wounds, with some of them being required to be rushed to the provincial capital Chengdu for treatment.

The report said the incident began on or about Aug 13 [2010] when leader Tashi Sangpo of Sharchu Gyashoe Village in Tromtar Township led a group of Tibetans to the county government headquarters to raise their concerns about the adverse effects of increased mining activities in their area.

The group was reported to have complained that gold mining operations by the Chinese-owned Kartin Company had led to an overcrowded population, severely degraded the fertility of the local Tibetan farmland, and adversely affected the area’s grassland habitat.

But the county officials not only refused to hear the petitioners but also had them all detained. Following this, 40 or so more Tibetans travelled to Palyul to demand their release and also to press their demands, including for compensation for the destruction of their land.

But faced with continued indifference and threats, the group picketed the county government office for three days. And early in the morning of the fourth day, the police sought to put an end to it all by incapacitating the petitioners by gassing them and then proceeded to remove the some of the partially unconscious petitioners into waiting motor vehicles.

The police response took a brutally ugly turn when the other petitioners shouted and began protesting. They fired their weapons with live ammunition on the Tibetans. Tashi Sangpo, who was apparently already released by then, was shot in his leg. Another Tibetan was shot dead while about 30 were injured.

Two policemen were reported to be injured in scuffle with the protesters.

Voice of Tibet (VoT) radio service Aug 23 and Aug 24 said three Tibetan were killed, including Soeso and Papho, who were said to be relatives of Tashi Sangpo.

Meanwhile, an official of the Palyul county government has told RFA by phone that negotiations with the Tibetan protesters were ongoing, claiming that some compromises had been made.

The report said Kartin, a Shanghai-based mining company, has been operating gold mines in the area for nearly 20 years and greatly enlarged its capacity in Aug’06, bringing in increasing quantities of heavy machinery and equipment as well as miners. The majority of the company’s employees are said to be from Shanghai.