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Chinese Police Shot Dalai Lama Birthday Celebrants


Tibetans in China’s Sichuan province attempt to commemorate the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6, 2013.
Exiled Tibetan sources say security forces in western China shot and wounded several Tibetans who were trying to commemorate the birthday of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The sources told VOA's Tibetan service that the incident happened on Saturday, the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday, in the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Sichuan province.

They said hundreds of Tibetans including monks and nuns tried to ascend a sacred hill in Daofu county to burn incense and offer prayers for the exiled spiritual leader, whom the Chinese government labels a separatist.

Chinese security forces block Tibetans from ascending hill to mark the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6, 2013.
Chinese security forces block Tibetans from ascending hill to mark the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6, 2013.
The Tibetan exiles said Chinese security forces opened fire to stop the crowd from holding the commemoration, wounding several people who were taken to hospitals for treatment. The Chinese government had no immediate comment.

The Tibetan sources said a few Tibetans managed to drive to the top of the hill, but they had their car smashed by the authorities. They said one of those who tried to evade the security blockade is a brother of a nun who self-immolated and died in 2011 to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. 119 Tibetans have succumbed to burn while carrying out self-immolation protests against China's repressive policies since 2009 in Tibetan regions of China, including Daofu.

Chinese authorities have blocked Tibetans from celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday on the hilltop for several years.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of seeking independence and inciting violent acts including the self-immolations, which it denounces as the work of terrorists and criminals. The Dalai Lama has said he only seeks meaningful autonomy for Tibet.
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