Chinese police wounded at least 10 Tibetans when they opened fire on a crowd protesting the arrest of a village leader, a Tibetan rights group said.
Authorities used tear gas on the crowd and put the area in southwestern China under tight control, interrogating children and the elderly, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in an e-mailed statement, citing Tibetans in exile it didn’t identify. The group said the shooting occurred Aug. 12 in Shiqu county of China’s Sichuan province, which neighbors Tibet.
A man who answered the phone at the Shiqu county police office declined to comment.
The incident would mark at least the third time in more than a year that police reportedly fired into crowds of Tibetans. Two monks were shot in the head in July of last year when police shot into a crowd that had gathered to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader. At least 60 people were wounded in a shooting in October, according to Radio Free Asia.
The village leader whose detention sparked the protest was identified as Wangdak, according to ICT. He was taken away from his home on the night on Aug. 11 or 12 and had voiced support for a traditional gathering where people burned incense and made prayer offerings.
Wangdak’s son and another relative were among the wounded, ICT said.
The violence occurred as China held a meeting in Tibet’s capital Lhasa to discuss development in the region.
“Participants notice that Tibet enjoys sound economic growth, social harmony, deep-rooted Tibetan culture and beautiful natural scenery, and the people enjoy a happy life,” the official Xinhua News Agency said after the meeting ended yesterday.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of waging a campaign for independence, while he says he is seeking autonomy for Tibet. He fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against occupation by the Chinese Communist Party.
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