UPDATE AUGUST 19, 2014: In our report of August 18, 2014, ICT described the wounds as ‘bullet’ wounds. However, ICT has not been able to confirm the type of ammunition used by the paramilitary police (People’s Armed Police) who fired upon the unarmed, peaceful crowd. Given the type of wounds observed in the images, it seems likely that live ammunition was not used, but that some form of anti-riot projectiles were fired with the intention of stopping the demonstrations and wounding individuals. Such weapons can still kill people, and there are serious concerns for those who were wounded who remain in custody, apparently without medical treatment.

  • A week after troops opened fire on unarmed Tibetan demonstrators in a village in Kardze, the authorities are denying medical treatment to those with wounds and have detained numerous other Tibetans in a sweeping crackdown in the area.
  • One Tibetan committed suicide in custody yesterday (August 17), while another died apparently due to untreated wounds, according to Tibetan sources in exile.
  • Tibetan males over the age of 12 or 13 have been detained from their homes in the village of Shugba, leaving only older people, women and young children in many houses in the area, according to the same sources.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This alarming news indicates that the authorities in this area are apparently acting with complete and dangerous impunity. Not only was lethal force once again used to suppress a peaceful demonstration, but now two Tibetans have died in horrifying circumstances in detention. As a matter of urgency, the international community must express its abhorrence of these acts by officials and paramilitary police in Kardze and call upon the central leadership in Beijing to ensure that the wounded are allowed medical treatment and released from custody, and that the detentions of Tibetans following the protest must end.”

Troops opened fire on unarmed Tibetans protesting against the detention of a popular village leader last week (August 12) in Loshu (Chinese: Luoxu) in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi, the Tibetan area of Kham[1] (ICT report, Ten Tibetans injured after police open fire in Kardze, Tibet).

Yesterday (August 17) a Tibetan named by sources as Lo Palsang from Shugba village, who had been wounded in the demonstration, was detained and committed suicide in custody. While full details of the circumstances are not known due to tight restrictions on information flow, according to Tibetan sources in contact with Tibetans in the area, his suicide was intended as a protest against crackdown. Radio Free Asia cited Demay Gyaltsen, a Tibetan living in exile in India, saying that Lo Palsang had “killed himself in detention in protest against the torture by the Chinese authorities.” The same source said that a second detainee, a 22 year old man, also died from injuries yesterday.

According to other Tibetan sources, a large deployment of troops arrived in Shugba village and detained a high number of Tibetan males aged above around 13. They were taken into detention in Loshu (Chinese: Luoxu). One of the Tibetan sources said: “Shugba village is small with a population of under 1000 and the area is remote; the authorities have taken advantage of the lack of communications and isolation of the village to exercise their power in the most brutal way. We have heard that it is mainly now only children, women and elderly people remaining in the village.” According to the same sources, the detention center at Loshu reached full capacity and so several detainees had to be kept at a hospital.

Among the injured are Kunga Sherab, the son of the popular village leader Wangdak whose detention from his home in the middle of the night on Monday or Tuesday (August 11 or 12) sparked the demonstration. Tibetan sources said: “Doctors in the hospital are not removing the bullets from the wounds of the injured even though some people are critically ill.”

Wangchen, Wangdak’s deputy in Shugba village, and Karma Rinchen, the chanting master from Miru monastery, are also believed to be in detention.

[1] The traditional Tibetan area of Derge (Chinese: Dege), now incorporated into Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) county in Kardze, Sichuan, the Tibetan area of Kham.