Another Tibetan dies in police shooting

2012-01-27 19:41

Beijing - At least one person died after police opened fire on Tibetan protesters in a restive area of south-western China for the third time this week, reports said on Friday.

One man died and several people were injured in the shooting in Dzitoe Barma town in the Aba prefecture of Sichuan province on Thursday, US-based Radio Free Asia and the pro-Tibetan independence website quoted exiled Tibetans as saying.

The Tibetans protested the arrest of a man who had put up a poster calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the reports quoted exiled monks from Aba's Kirti monastery as saying.

The poster said Tibetans would continue protests until the government met the demands of "Tibetans who have self-immolated," Radio Free Asia quoted its sources as saying, referring to at least 16 Tibetans who have set fire to themselves in Aba and other areas over the last year.

The shooting prompted more than 10 000 Tibetans to gather in the town from surrounding areas later on Thursday, the broadcaster said.

Phayul carried a similar report citing Indian-based exiled monks from Kirti monastery.

Unconfirmed reports by Tibetan exiles said a dozen or more people were killed in the two earlier clashes between Tibetans and police, but the Chinese government said only one person died in each of the incidents.

Tighter control

The leader of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, on Thursday called for the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate the unrest and the shooting of protesters by Chinese police.

Photographs posted on Chinese microblogs and a report by Radio Free Asia suggested that security forces had tightened control of several Tibetan areas following recent unrest.

Reports are difficult to verify independently due to restrictions on international media visiting Tibetan areas and the apparent suspension of telephone and internet services in the most tense areas.

The Chinese government accused Tibetan exiles of exaggerating the two earlier clashes and vowed to be "resolute in maintaining normal social order".

Lobsang Sangay on Thursday expressed his support for a popular boycott of celebrations of the Tibetan lunar new year, which begins on February 22.

Many Tibetans have boycotted Tibetan new year celebrations since 2008 when widespread anti-Chinese protests began in Lhasa and spread to many other Tibetan areas.

The government said violent protests and ethnic clashes in Lhasa left 21 people dead and hundreds injured in March 2008.