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Tibetans Allege Another Protester Close to Death from Chinese Police Beating


Arrest of Denma Chief leads to crack down on protesters

Tibetans in exile say yet another protester is close to death after being severely beaten in police detention in Denma Township, Serchul County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province.

Sources tell VOA's Tibetan service that 64-year-old Dawa Lhamo was hospitalized after police severely injured her head a month ago and she has reportedly been moved to her home with a little chance of survival.

“They are giving religious initiations to her,” said Tenpa, a monk in India who is from the area and knows Dawa’s family. Such an initiation, he says, is given to patients when there is a little chance of surviving.

According to Washington, DC based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Dawa Lhamo was “severely tortured” in a local detention center, making her immobile and unable to speak.

She was among at least 25 Tibetans arrested on August 12 after staging a protest in the village of Denma. Tenpa and other exile Tibetans from the area allege that at least six have died in detention from untreated wounds and two have committed suicide.

Many of the deceased are relatives and family members of a village leader who was arrested the night before the incident for organizing a local horse festival without governmental permission, according to the same exile sources.

On August 12, hundreds of Tibetans gathered outside local government office in Denma, asking for the release of Wangdrak, the village leader.

Photos circulated through Wechat showed the Tibetans conducting an unusual form of protest by raising their thumbs up in the air. In Tibetan culture, pointing one’s thumbs in the air is a gesture of begging. Thus far there has not been any reports of violent protests conducted by the Tibetan villagers. But reports from Tibetans in exile said Chinese security forces fired at the protesters and arrested a dozens.

Among those arrested, they say, was the village leader’s 22-year-old son, who later died in detention with bullets in his body.

On August 18, Wangdrak’s uncle Tsewang Gonpo, son-in-law, Jinpa Tharchen, and a relative named Yeshi died in detention from “torture” and untreated wounds.

Some images distributed in exiled Tibetan community through Wechat show the wounds on the bodies, but it is hard to determine wither they are caused by rubber bullets of live ammunition.

However, Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa, a prominent Tibet analysts in Dharamsala and a former official in China’s United Work, insists they are actual bullet wounds.

According to ICT, a Chinese officer died after being accidentally shot by troops when they opened fire on the Tibetan protesters. Chinese officials have not commented on the matter and the incident has not been mentioned in China's official press.

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