Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Report: Dalai Lama says China fired on Tibetans

August 24, 2008

The Associated Press
August 21, 2008

PARIS -- The Dalai Lama has accused Chinese troops of firing at a
crowd of Tibetans in China this week and said people may have been
killed, according to an interview published Thursday.

The daily Le Monde quoted the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is
currently visiting France, of accusing China of imposing a new,
long-term "plan of brutal repression" and building new military camps
in Tibetan areas.

The paper also quoted the Dalai Lama as saying that Chinese troops
fired on a crowd of Tibetans on Monday in China's region of Kham.

Asked about rumors in the Tibetan community that as many as 140
Tibetans could have been killed in the clashes, he told Le Monde he
heard there had been deaths, but added, "The figure needs to be confirmed."

Le Monde's print edition said the Dalai Lama himself had mentioned
the figure of 140 deaths, but the reporter later told The Associated
Press the number was mentioned only in his question, not in the Dalai
Lama's response.

AP called the reporter after the prime minister of the Tibetan
government in exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, said in Dharmsala, India,
that the government has not received any information about violence
in Tibet after July 31. He said there were 218 confirmed deaths
between March and July 31, but they fear the real number could be far higher.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese Foreign Ministry
about Le Monde's report, which provided no other details about the
clashes it referred to.

Kham is traditional Tibetan territory that is now part of Sichuan
province in southwest China. Tibetan areas in Sichuan have been near
impossible to penetrate, and information about unrest there has been minimal.

Tibetan protesters have sought to make their voices heard during the
Olympic Games in China this month, but Chinese authorities keen to
keep a lid on unrest have stemmed protests.

Le Monde quoted the Dalai Lama as saying that since a Chinese
crackdown on riots in Tibet in March, "reliable witnesses have
established that 400 people have been killed in the Lhasa area alone.

"If you consider the whole of Tibet, the number of victims is
obviously higher," he was quoted as saying.

He also said that 10,000 people have been arrested since then. "We
don't know where they are being held," he was quoted as saying.

He expressed disappointment that talks this year between his
representatives and Chinese authorities about Tibet ran aground
without breakthroughs, but expressed hope in progress after the Olympics.

The Dalai Lama said Chinese authorities were speeding up construction
of military camps in Tibet. "The frenzy of new construction in the
Amdo and Kham regions makes me say that this colonization by the army
is designed to last," he said.

The Dalai Lama is currently holding spiritual teaching sessions in
western France. He is to meet with France's foreign minister and
first lady on Friday.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank