Death toll mounts as Tibet Uprising Continues: TCHRD calls upon UN to send a Fact Finding Mission

Lhasa, the capital city, in particular is still reeling under extremely tense situation at the moment since yesterday’s demonstration. Information from Tibet indicates Chinese authorities’ imposing curfew in the entire Lhasa city with entry into city completely cut-off by posting many new check posts at all the entry points into the City. All the roads and shops remain closed in the city with heavy presence of armored military vehicles and additional contingent of People’s Armed Police (PAP)- a paramilitary troops sent into the city to suppress people from demonstrating again. However, certain parts of Lhasa, especially Karma Kusang in the east and Nangdren Roads on the north side of Lhasa witnessed a pocket of protests this morning, according to confirmed information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, says seven to ten people have been confirmed dead in rioting in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Friday. However, according to TCHRD around 25 deaths of Tibetans were reported from yesterday’s demonstration at Ramoche Temple, Jokhang Temple and Thomsigkhang Market. Confirmed information indicates that hundreds of Tibetans injured in yesterday’s protest are hospitalized in various hospitals for treatment. Telephone lines and Internet connection remains cutoff since this morning in many areas in the city and other parts of Tibet.

This morning the Higher People’s Higher Court, Regional People’s Procuratorate and the regional Public Security Bureau of the so-called “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR”) issued a notice demanding protestors to give themselves in for leniency by Monday midnight. The notice further stated that those who surrender and inform “will be exempt from punishment”, it also stated, “those who cover up or shelter the lawbreakers would be punished in accordance with the law.”

TCHRD deems the authorities’ notice as a typical exercise in reining in the Tibetan protestors from airing their grievance and the deep-rooted resentment over many years of mistreatment and denial of fundamental human rights. The similar tactic was employed in curbing the 1987- 1989 pro-independence demonstration of Tibetan people in Lhasa. The tactic is a clear ‘ploy’ by the Chinese authorities to trap the Tibetan demonstrators by inciting fear and intimidating the demonstrators to give in. The Chinese authorities will not live up to their promise of offering leniency to those who surrender, as it was the case in 1987- 1989 demonstrations in Lhasa.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemns in strongest terms the Chinese security agencies use of brute force on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators. Decades of repression in Tibet and closure of monasteries and violent blockage of peaceful demonstrators by the Chinese authorities have led to the current tension in Tibet. According to reports emerging from Tibet, 25 Tibetans have died during the tension on 14 March alone and hundreds of wounded Tibetans are hospitalized. Scores of Tibetans in various parts of Tibet have been arrested with many more midnight arrests and state sponsored enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions to take place in the coming few days through police CCTVs.

TCHRD expresses its deepest fear and anxiety that hundreds of Tibetans will tremendously suffer without being noticed for standing up and expressing their opinion. The Centre deplores the Chinese propaganda machinery downplaying the current situation in Tibet and for its repeated vilification of the Dalai Lama for the ongoing spontaneous protests. While welcoming the timely statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the current situation in Tibet, the Centre appeals the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently send a UN fact finding mission to Tibet for first hand assessment of the situation.

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