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Reports: Chinese Police Open Fire on Tibetan Protesters

  • VOA Tibetan

49-year old Norpa Yonten was shot dead in a Chinese police firing in Drango Monday morning.

Chinese police fired on thousands of Tibetan protesters Monday morning killing at least one person and injuring many in Draggo County (Ch: Luhuo County) in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, says exile sources with contacts in the area.

Lobsang Gyaltsen,a monk of Drepung Loseling monastery in India with close contacts in Draggo told VOA Tibetan that about 10,000 people gathered around the grounds of Drango monastery to protest Chinese repression in the area and its authorities response to recent self-immolation cases.

Gyaltsen said the protesters called for religious freedom and return of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Tibet before Chinese security forces fired the crowd, leaving Norpa Yonten, a 49-year-old dead and 32 injured.

Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile condemned the police firing and called on China to understand grievances of the Tibetan in a statement released earlier.

There has been no official comment on the confrontation from Chinese authorities.

The heavily Tibetan region has been hit by ongoing protests and a series of self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhists demanding an end to widely-perceived religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities.

The monks and their followers are also demanding the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

At least 16 Tibetans, including monks, former monks and nuns, have died in self-immolation protests since March 2011. Thousands of monks were subsequently arrested by security forces and taken to unknown locations.

The Tibetans demonstrating Monday were said to be protesting the earlier arrests of some activists distributing pamphlets calling for Tibetan freedom from Chinese rule. The pamphlets also warned that more Tibetans were ready to set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese crackdown.

Tibetan rights group say many Tibetans in the region also boycotted Chinese New Year's celebrations currently under way in much of East Asia, to protest Chinese policy toward Tibet.

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