Monday, May 25, 2009

6 Tibetans Seriously Wounded in Protests Against China's Hydroelectric Dam Project, Dharamshala, 26 May 2009

At least 6 Tibetan women have sustained serious gunshot wounds after Chinese security forces opened fire at a group of Tibetans in Tawu County, who were venting their anger against China's forceful relocation of tens of thousands of local Tibetans, sources reported Monday.

The Public Security Bureau officials and People's Armed Police indiscriminately fired at Tibetan residents of Tawu and Nyagchu County in Karze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, at around 11 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, 24 May.

The sources attributed the incident to China's construction of a major hydroelectric dam between Nyagchu and Tawu County, which is resulting in a large-scale displacement of local Tibetans. The government coerced local residents of Tawu County to sign a document as it begin to plan the construction work in early 2008.

This year the Chinese authorities again reinforce their relocation plan, which was vehemently opposed by the Tibetans who refused to leave their ancestral lands and houses.

Subsequently, on 5 May 2009, the Chinese government dispatched a large number of armed police to the region and destroyed homes of some families, including those of Ati Gyatso Tsang and Chego Pezi Tsang.

Earlier, the authorities convened a meeting and erected a stone pillar in their plan to relocate the residents of Wara Mato town to another place. Expressing strong opposition to the forced relocation policy, the angry residents led by an old woman named Lhamo, who is believed to be aged above 70, refused to move saying they are owner of the land and destroyed the pillar.

Consequently, as residents from Tawu and Nyagchu districts gathered in the region to protest the arrival of large number of troops on the morning of 24 May, the army fired shots leaving six Tibetan women seriously wounded.

Those wounded have been identified as Tsering Lhamo, Rigzin Lhamo, Dolma, Kelsang, Dolkar and Khaying.

But sources could not tell whether those injured are dead or alive as they were forcibly taken away after the firing incident.

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