Saturday, February 04, 2012

Tibet: Tibetan Group Releases Photos of Chinese Crackdown

Photo: Students For a Free Tibet This photograph was provided by the activist group Students For a Free Tibet and cannot be independently verified, January 24, 2012.

Source: Voice of America

Kurt Achin | New Delhi

A Tibetan activist group has released photos it says are from the sites of recent protests, showing Chinese riot police beating and dragging bloodied demonstrators. The group says the photos prove China is acting brutally toward unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.

The photographs, released by the group Students for a Free Tibet, show Chinese riot police standing over and dragging protestors, one of them appearing to have blood on his head. The group says the photos were taken in Serta, in China's Sichuan province.

Dorjee Tseten, the India director of the group, based in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, says the photos show China has not been telling the truth about the demonstrations in recent weeks.

"The Chinese government says like those protestors were shot on self defense but in the picture we can clearly see the protestors are like unarmed, they are protesting with non-violent protest and then police crackdown the protest very brutally and kill Tibetans," he said.

Tibetan exile Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay was quoted Thursday as saying he is “very disturbed by the growing number of Chinese military personnel” moving into Tibetan areas with truckloads of paramilitary forces and automatic machine guns.

Tibetan exiles say at least seven protesters have been killed in recent weeks when police opened fire on unarmed crowds in three incidents.

Senior Chinese officials say the demonstrations were "well planned beforehand" by "trained separatists" who tried to use violence against police.

Dorjee, a member of Students for a Free Tibet, says getting images like the ones the group released this week is not easy.

"The area around Serta and nearby place where there are lot of protest happening are totally locked down. Whether it's Internet, whether it's online, it's all locked down," he stated. "So one of his friend who is actually there and taken the picture. He actually came out of the province, out of the region and then he could able to send it from the different place to India."

Tibet analysts have expressed concerns that a younger, more restive generation of Tibetans may become embroiled in mass riots like the ones that took place in Chinese-controlled Tibet in 2008 -- especially if the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, dies without returning to his historical home.

The Dalai Lama crossed into India with tens of thousands of followers after a failed uprising in 1959. Dorjee says young Tibetans will continue to express themselves peacefully.

"It is not true that Tibetans' younger generations are like frustrated and getting to violence. But then we are taking the non-violent protest, our movement in a more active way," he explained.

The exiled Tibetan prime minister has called for a global vigil next week to protest events in Chinese-controlled Tibet, and is pleading with the United Nations to send a fact-finding team to the region.