01/25/2012, 00.00
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Tibetan protests on the rise in Sichuan: five dead

Chinese security forces fired on protesters who were shouting for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Martial law imposed in Serthar. Beijing critical of reports of killings in Draggo, two days ago. The exiled Tibetan prime minister criticizes the silence of the international community. The "concerns" of the United States, who will receive Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping in February.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese security forces have killed at least five Tibetans and injured another 40 on the second day of protests that have erupted in the prefecture of Kardze (Ganzi in Chinese), Sichuan Province. According to Tibetan sources, the police fired on demonstrators in Serthar (Seda, in Chinese), where martial law has been imposed. "The Tibetans - said a source - are confined to their homes and police fire on anyone who ventures into the streets."

The dead and wounded of Serthar are in addition to six deaths and more than 30 wounded, also demonstrators fired on by police in Draggo (Luhu, in Chinese), also in Sichuan. According to local sources, "12 of them are in critical condition with gunshots to the skull" (pictured one of the demonstrators, killed at Draggo).

The protests all started with the distribution of leaflets extolling the self-immolation of young Tibetans and slogans about freedom of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. In almost a year at least 16 people - mostly young monks – have set themselves on fire in protest at Chinese policy on Tibet.

The Beijing government has criticized reports on the clashes in Draggo, stating that in fact the police intervened because a mob attacked a police station and shops.

Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile, has appealed to the international community to "intervene to halt renewed bloodshed." "How much longer - he said - and how many other tragic deaths are needed before the world take a firm moral stance? The silence of the international community sends a clear message to China: that its repressive and violent measures to contain the tensions in Tibetan areas are acceptable. "

So far, the United States has only expressed "serious concerns" about violence in Sichuan. Washington is preparing to receive the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in February.

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