Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – “We are getting news about more dead in Lhasa every day. Monks and nuns are tortured in inhuman ways,” said Urgen Tenzin, director of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. “We are pained by the brutality of the killings,” he told AsiaNews. “And as protest our members have tonsured their heads after the 20 March prayer.”
In Dharamsala (India), the Tibetan government-in-exile called on Beijing to immediately release Tibetans it arrested, provide medical care for the thousands it injured and allow media into the areas affected by the violence.
According to the Tibetan Solidarity Committee, an umbrella group that brings together several major pro-Tibet organisations, there have been 140 known deaths and 1,100 arrests. More have died or been detained but whilst the number is thought to be in thousands it remains to be confirmed.
Those who have been arrested have been sent to faraway prisons because detention centres in Lhasa are full. Torture is routinely carried out as part of police investigation, and more than 450 injured Tibetans are not getting much medical care.
In many parts of Tibet, in places like Kardze, Chamdo and Golog, people are getting together to pray as they did on 20 and 21 March.
Dhondup Dorjee, vice president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, told AsiaNews that “more than 100 Tibetans have died, and thousands have been wounded and arrested. We are getting pictures of the dead in Lhasa; they tell a tale of limitless brutality by the Chinese against Tibetans.”
“This brutal violence by the Chinese regime shows the lack of legitimacy of China’s domination in the three Tibetan provinces,” he added. “We are grateful that His Holiness the Pope remembered Tibet in his Easter address.”
Peaceful demonstrations began in China on 10 March (anniversary of China’s crackdown in 1959) in more than 20 countries, not only in Tibet but also in the Tibetan areas of the provinces of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai.
Pro-Tibet groups are now calling for action by the United Nations and foreign governments to push Beijing to stop the violence, release the prisoners, allow access to media and send a mission to determine what happened.
Yesterday in New Delhi various Tibetan groups raised 15 black flags in protest for each of the 15 days since the protest began.
Heeding the Dalai Lama’s request, pro-Tibet march organisers temporarily suspended the action.
The march itself, which is meant to lead hundreds of exiled Tibetans to their homeland as a way to gain greater freedom, reached Roper in India’s Punjab Province.