05/28/2009, 00.00
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Police shoots at crowd, wounding six Tibetan women

In Tawu County plans are underway to build a big hydroelectric dam. This is coming at a heavy price, the displacement of tens of thousands of Tibetans. When people protested, police shot at the crowd. In the meantime protesters arrested in March 2008 are still getting life in prison.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Chinese police opened fire on a group of Tibetans in Tawu County (Karze prefecture in Sichuan) who were peacefully protesting the construction of a dam, seriously wounding six women.

The authorities are planning a major hydroelectric dam between Nyagchu and Tawu County, which is resulting in a large-scale displacement of local Tibetans who are refusing to leave their ancestral land and are complaining that they were coerced into signing away their property.

To deal with dam opponents the authorities deployed a large contingent of policemen who destroyed some homes.

On Sunday the government organised a meeting with residents, ostensibly to talk with them about the dam, but instead simply “notified the Tibetans that they would have to be relocated to another area,” Urgen Tenzin, Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), told AsiaNews.

This led to spontaneous protests as many shouted their refusal to leave the place. At that point police opened fire on the unarmed peaceful protesters. Six women, Tsering Lhamo, Rigzin Lhamo, Dolma, Kelsang, Dolkar and Khaying, were wounded and taken away by police. Their current fate is unknown.

“Any development should be for the benefit of the local people, not just relocating them, alienating them from their roots and culture, not to mention threatening their livelihood. Importantly, such heavy-handed use of armed force by the Chinese to stifle a genuine protest is a gross violation of human rights and must be condemned by the international community,” Tenzin said.

The TCHRD also complained that the conditions of detention of protesters arrested in March 2008 remain appalling and that people are still being sentenced.

On 21 May a court in Kanlho found two monks, Tsultrim Gyatso and Thabkhay Gyatso, guilty and sentenced them to life in prison and 15 years respectively “for threatening state security.”

Both men are from Labrang Monastery (Sangchu County, Gansu) and took part in local protests on 15 March 2008.

Since then they have been detained and have not been able to see any family members. (NC)

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See also
Beijing imposes harsh sentences on Tibetan monks and lama
Two Tibetan monks get lengthy prison terms in Lhasa
Tibetans sentenced to years in prison
China to build dams in quake-prone Tibetan regions
Tibetan exiles’ “return march’ reaches New Delhi


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