07/09/2013, 00.00
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Tibet, police shoot Buddhist monks: one is dying

A Tibetan religious group gathers to pray on the day of the birthday of the Dalai Lama. The police officers approached the people and, without any warning, open fire at chest height. One monk shot in the head and seriously wounded, now hospitalized in Chengdu.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Without warning or any attempt at mediation, the Chinese police opened fire on a group of Tibetans in Tawu area to celebrate the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama. Agents shot at chest level and struck several people: Sonam Tashi, a Buddhist monk from Nyatso was struck in the head by a bullet. He is currently in critical condition at a hospital in Chengdu.

The men had gathered on 6 July to pray and wish long life to their spiritual leader. The monks came from the monastery of Nyatso, while the nuns from Gik Choeling monastery. One of these, Jangchup Dorjee, is the brother of Palden Choetso, a nun who set herself on fire on 3 November 2011 to protest the Chinese invasion of Tibet and ask for the return home of the Dalai Lama [click here for the video of her death].

The agents of the people's armed police - a paramilitary group under the orders of Beijing's Ministry of Defense, and not the Interior Ministry - arrived at the place of prayer [see photo] and without any warning or attempt at dialogue, launched tear gas against the crowd. Soon afterwards, they opened fire directly on the crowd: among the wounded, Jangchup, Tsering Dhonudp, Nyendak, Tashi and a still unidentified nun.

In Tibet the situation remains very tense. At present, 119 people have self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule over the area, while the Dalai Lama (from exile to Dharamsala) has asked his faithful to preserve human life "above all else". In recent days the rumor had circulated of a "relaxation" by the Chinese authorities regarding religious freedom and worship in the area, but Beijing has denied everything.

The Chinese government considers the Buddhist leader "a wolf dressed as lamb" and has accused him for years of inciting the region to independence. In fact, the Nobel Peace Prize for at least three decades has only asked Beijing for "cultural autonomy and religious freedom", i.e. the possibility for Tibetans to learn their mother tongue and practise Buddhism without restrictions.





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