Letter from Tibet: Increase in unchecked violence

A letter dated 12 December 1996 describing recent brutal events in Tibet reached TCHRD from Tibet in January 1997. All events described in the letter took place in Tawo Dzong, Kham Province, a small sparsely populated prefecture 1800 km east of Lhasa.

According to the source, the following incidents are representative of the moral and social disintegration which is taking place in Tibet today as Tibetans struggle to live under the Chinese rule without political or financial support.

The source reports that Tibetans are being actively encouraged to commit such acts of violence against other Tibetans. The source writes that a few months previously six Tibetans were involved in an internal conflict which resulted in the death of four of them. The two men responsible for the killings were arrested and detained for only a few months before being released.

In another case, four Tibetans were caught committing a similar crime. They were subsequently released without any legal action being taken against them.

The letter also describes the contrary situation wherein a Chinese is killed by a Tibetan. In such cases, the source reports, not only is the assassin executed, but so too are those people related to the assassin. This was the reason behind the brutal murder of Dolma Tsering and his friends on 29 November 1996. All were innocent of any crime but were killed as a threat to other Tibetans.

The letter describes the extraordinary courage of Dolma Tsering, aged just 21 years, when faced with death. He was described as having absolutely no expression of fear when killed amidst thousands of people. All those who witnessed the execution were staggered by his bravery.

According to the source, within the space of two weeks, a series of killings took place in Tawo Dzong. A group of nomads had come to purchase grain when the Chinese Armed Police opened fire. One man was injured and his horse killed.

A few days later, three nomads travelling from Tawo to Draghor were followed and also killed. Another brutal murder was reported of two men being placed against a target board and shot at through the target.

In total, within just two weeks, five people were killed and one injured. In Pawo Tramo, the source reports, no legal proceedings follow the killings of Tibetans. A particularly inhuman incident occurred during the road constructions of the Yumo Chumar. A Chinese bulldozer driver made a game of throwing petrol on an eight year-old nomad girl and setting her ablaze. Such a cruel act was reportedly completely ignored by authorities and the driver was not charged with any crime.

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