Tibet : Tibetans Clash With Chinese Police in Ngago
Chinese police have shot and killed a Tibetan man accused of stealing tents from a controversial construction site, triggering clashes between villagers and security forces.The clashes took place on Monday, a day after the shooting in Labrang county resulted in Tibetan protesters overrunning a police station.Additional security forces were called in and used tear gas to contain the protests, with many Tibetans injured and detained.The situation added to growing tensions in Tibet, including three self-immolations by Tibetans in the past week protesting rule by Beijing.
The dead man was identified by local sources as Gurgo Tseten, 35.
“On the night of Jan. 8, a group of Chinese police and security officials came to Nanba township in Labrang Achog in Labrang county , and shot Gurgo Tseten,” a local Tibetan said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Tseten had been visiting the family of another man, Gonpo Kyab, who was detained and taken away by police, the source said.
Chinese police suspected the two men of taking two tents that had been pitched at a site where the Chinese authorities are planning to build an airstrip despite protests by local Tibetans who claim the area is sacred, the man said.
“The Chinese authorities were planning to build an airstrip on the side of Amnye Gong Ngo mountain,” revered by Tibetans as a sacred site, the source said.
“Local Tibetans objected and resisted the project … residents of the Achog area also launched a strong protest.”
Though villagers presented evidence to show that the two men were not involved in the loss of the tents, “the Chinese police did not listen, and came to detain them,” he said.
Following the shooting, Tibetans ransacked the police station in nearby Achog Ngago township, damaging windows and doors, the source said.
“All the local police fled to the county center. Then special forces arrived in the area in 22 vehicles on the morning of Jan. 9.”
After an initial clash in which police fired tear gas, “many Tibetans were taken into custody, and many were injured,” the source said, adding that some police were also injured and that two or three vehicles were burned.
“Now, more armed police have arrived and are surrounding Ngago township,” he said.
On Tuesday, Ngago township was still surrounded by Chinese armed police and other security forces, a second local source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity and describing Tibetan protesters as “aggressive and agitated.”
Before Gurgo Tseten was shot, area residents were already angered by the death in police custody of a young Tibetan who was detained while traveling by motorbike to Labrang, the source said.
“When there was a scuffle, the police beat him and held him in custody while his injuries went untreated. As a result, he succumbed to his injuries and died.”
For now, the Chinese security forces surrounding the town are only watching and have not made a further assault, he said.