12/08/2020

Environmental activist suffers broken ribs after savage beatings in Tawu

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Chinese armed police arrive to surround the venue of birthday celebration.
Chinese armed police arrive to surround the venue of the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration on 6 July in Tawu County.

A Tibetan environmental activist has his ribs broken after enduring savage beatings at the hands of China’s People’s Armed Police forces on 6 July when local Tibetans in Tawu (Ch: Daofu/Dawu) County gathered to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

According to information received by TCHRD, Gyaltsen, a Tibetan layman and environmental activist from Dunkye camp, was among a group of Tibetans who were savagely beaten at a bridge near Machen Pomra mountain. Gyaltsen suffered two broken ribs and many others in the group also sustained serious injuries. After the beatings, armed police detained 14 known Tibetans including Gyaltsen but they were released on the night of 7 July following protests from local Tibetans who had gathered at the courtyard of Nyatso Monastery to protest the detention.

Armed police engaged in brutal and indiscriminate beatings when Gyaltsen and others in the group began questioning the actions of the armed police. “They wanted to know why the armed police were stopping them from observing religious ceremony on the mountain,” a source told TCHRD quoting local eyewitnesses. “The brutal beatings were in response to mere questionings and resistance by Gyaltsen and others in the group.” Many of those released after detention had to be hospitalised due to severe injuries. Their whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

Gyatsen is a member of Tawu Environmental Protection Association which was formed in 2011 to preserve local environment. The association was started through a joint initiative by monastic and lay communities in Tawu County. It has 50 members with a representative each from local Tibetan families and villages in Tawu County. Last year, TCHRD reported the arbitrary detention of four members of the association in mid February 2012. The association has initiated various activities to protect the environment by campaigning against rampant mining, deforestation, and smuggling of wildlife products. In some cases, local Tibetans had fined Chinese fishermen for fishing in sacred rivers. All the members are well-educated with considerable standing and respect in the local community.