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China opened fire on Tibetan demonstrators in at least four separate incidents, many people Killed in 2008 protest: Human Rights Watch Report

Posted by Author on July 22, 2010

Human Rights Watch, July 21, 2010 –

(New York) – Eyewitness accounts confirm that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality during and after unprecedented Tibetan protests beginning on March 10, 2008, Human Rights Watch said in a new report  released today. Many violations continue today, including disappearances, wrongful convictions and imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement.

The 73-page report, “‘I Saw It with My Own Eyes’: Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010,” is based on more than 200 interviews with Tibetan refugees and visitors conducted immediately after they left China, as well as fresh, not previously reported, official Chinese sources. The report details, through eyewitness testimonies, a broad range of abuses committed by security forces both during and after protest incidents, including using disproportionate force in breaking up protests, proceeding to large-scale arbitrary arrests, brutalizing detainees, and torturing suspects in custody.

“Dozens of eyewitness testimonies and the government’s own sources show clearly the official willingness to use lethal force against unarmed protestors,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “This report decisively refutes the Chinese government’s claim that it handled the protests in line with international standards and domestic laws.”

The report also suggests that contrary to government claims, Chinese security forces opened fire indiscriminately on demonstrators in at least four separate incidents, including in one area of downtown Lhasa on March 14.

In order to avoid external or independent scrutiny of the security operations, the Chinese authorities effectively locked down the entire Tibetan plateau and dispatched massive numbers of troops across all Tibetan-inhabited areas. It expelled journalists and foreign observers, restricted travel to and within the region, cut or monitored telecommunications and internet, and arrested anyone suspected of reporting on the crackdown. The government has rejected all calls for independent investigations into the protests, including those from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special rapporteurs…….(more details from Human Rights Watch: China: Witnesses Lift Veil on Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet)

Testimonies from “‘I Saw It with My Own Eyes’: Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010”:

“They were firing straight at people. They were coming from the direction of Jiangsu Lu firing at any Tibetans they saw, and many people had been killed.”
– Pema Lhakyi (not her real name,) a 24-year -old Lhasa resident.

“She was shot by a single bullet in the head. Local people managed to take her body home to the village, which is about five kilometers from Tongkor monastery.”
– Sonam Tenzin (not his real name), a 27-year-old monk from Tongkor monastery.

“At first, the soldiers fired in front of the crowd a few times to scare them, but the crowd thought they would not dare to actually fire and continued crowding inside the compound. At that point, the soldiers started to fire.”
– Tenpa Trinle (not his real name), a 26-year-old monk from Seda county.

“The first thing I saw was a lot of soldiers and police beating the crowd with electric batons. Groups of four or five soldiers were arresting crowd members one by one and putting them in a truck.”
– Dorje Tso (not his real name) 55-year-old resident from Tongren.

(more details from Human Rights Watch: China: Witnesses Lift Veil on Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet)

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