For Immediate Release
Nephew of Canadian beaten to death by Chinese police in Tibet
CTC calls on government to demand China lift ‘undeclared martial law’
(Montreal, Friday, 27 February 2009) – Pema Tsepak, age 24, died in police custody after being detained and beaten by Chinese authorities in Chamdo, Tibet. Pema was the nephew of Victoria resident “JG”, the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) announced today.
According to sources in Tibet, on January 20, Pema, Thinley Ngodrub, 24, and his brother Thargayal, 23, were attacked and detained as they walked towards local police headquarters in Tsawa Dzogang carrying a banner reading “Independence for Tibet,” distributing fliers, and shouting slogans against Chinese rule. Thinley and Thargayal are also nephews of “JG”.
Pema died some days after his arrest. The whereabouts and physical conditions of Thinley and Thargyal are unknown.
In January, Chinese authorities launched their ‘strike hard’ crackdown, which they described as "a people's war" to crush any potential protests in the weeks leading through Losar (Tibetan New Year) and the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising on March 10.
“Since ‘strike hard’ was announced, there have been reports of protests, mass detentions, and casualties in the region,” said CTC executive director Dermod Travis. “Pema’s death symbolizes the courage and determination of Tibetans in spite of the climate of fear that permeates Tibet.”
In addition to Pema’s death, sources in Tibet indicate that the Public Security Bureau in Lhasa has detained "5,766 suspects" for questioning; three Tibetan taxi drivers were injured after being fired upon by Chinese police following a scuffle with Chinese taxi drivers over parking space, and the detention of a single protester in Lithang County has prompted further protests by local Tibetans, a massive army deployment in the area, and arrests.
And today, a Tibetan monk was shot by Chinese police today after he set himself on fire at 1:40pm Beijing time in Ngaba town (eastern Tibet).
The CTC calls on Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to demand that the government of China immediately lift what is effectively a form of undeclared martial law in the region and to release all political prisoners detained by authorities.
Since last March’s protests, the government of China has effectively locked down Tibet to foreign visitors, journalists and international observers. The CTC believes that the lock down has provided Chinese authorities with an unparalleled opportunity to conduct crackdowns and mass arrests.
LOSAR is one of the most important, auspicious and festive holidays of Tibetans and is traditionally celebrated with great enthusiasm and festivity for a minimum of three days and maximum of fifteen days.
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organisation of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, who are concerned about the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
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