10/06/2006, 00.00
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Tibet: Buddhist nun and child among refugees slain at Nepalese border

On 30 September, Chinese guards stationed at the border between China and Nepal opened fire on refugees fleeing to the mountains. Seven people were killed in the shooting, not two as initially reported.

Kushinagar (AsiaNews) – Chinese guards stationed at the border between China and Nepal killed seven – not two as initially reported – people on 30 September when they opened fire on refugees fleeing to the mountains. A Buddhist nun and a child were among the victims.

Lama Tsering, a Buddhist monk from Kushinagar monastery in northern India, confirmed this to AsiaNews. He said: "In the monastery, we observed a day of prayer and fasting yesterday after it was confirmed that seven refugees were killed, including our sister and a child. According to initial reports, two people were killed but now we are certain that the death toll has risen."

The lama said: "The genocide by the Chinese Han soldiers against Tibetans is beyond description. They persecute us and have no scruples about killing us like flies just because of our Buddhist faith and deep reverence for the Dalai Lama."

The massacre was perpetrated when a group of about 70 refugees stumbled upon Chinese soldiers near Nangpa La pass, close to Mount Everest. As soon as the guards saw them, they opened fire and only 40 refugees managed to escape. Alas, the survivors had to leave the bodies of those slain behind as they fled towards Nepal.

"We are traumatised because we are sure our sister was denied even the comfort of dignified funeral rites. Maybe we could recover her remains in future and give her a fitting burial. For now, we can only mourn her demise through fasting and silence."

Lama Tsering turned his thoughts to those who were arrested by the guards: "They will be tortured and persecuted for the rest of their lives. For a Tibetan, perhaps it is better to die than to be caught by Han soldiers."

Every year, hundreds of Tibetan refugees seek to escape the Chinese invasion of their province. To avoid the guards, they opt to cross the border through the most isolated passes, which are usually not watched.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile in India since 1959 (the year of the Chinese invasion), has often declared his availability to open "reasonable talks" with Beijing, especially to protect the lives of those who remain in the province.

The Chinese government has always rejected his overtures and continues to treat very harshly all those who seek to flee the country's Communist repression. (PD)

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