02/02/2012, 00.00
CHINA – TIBET
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More than 100 people arrested in Draggo

During a peaceful demonstration on 23 January, police and security forces opened fire against civilians demanding religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. About six people were killed and 60 wounded. Now the authorities continue their search for other protesters in order to take them into custody.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Chinese authorities rounded up and arrested more than 100 Tibetan demonstrators who took part in protests in Draggo on 23 January. During the protest, organised to demand the release of a local resident and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, police fired on the civilian protesters, killing six. Witnesses told Radio Free Asia that police also arrested all 60 demonstrators wounded during the shooting.

The shooting has led to a series of protests in Sichuan province, with its large Tibetan population, that were snuffed out in violence. Sources said the demonstrations were peaceful, but China blamed “Tibetan separatists” for the violence.

The people arrested “were taken to the Ra Nga Kha prison in Bamei, located between Dartsedo [in Chinese, Kangding] and the Tawu County center,” India-based monk Kalsang said.

“The injured Tibetans were taken ‘for medical treatment’ along with the others, but whether they will really be treated is unclear. Their names and other details about them are unknown,” he added.

Following the shooting, Draggo town “filled with Chinese police and armed [security forces],” who are checking everyone’s papers, even those of school kids, Kalsang said.

For the past year, Tibet has been the scene of violent demonstrations against Chinese rule, including 16 cases of self-immolation by Buddhist monks demanding religious freedom and cultural autonomy, and this despite appeals by the Dalai Lama against such extreme acts.

Fearful of new upheavals ahead of the upcoming 18th Party Congress, Beijing is using an iron fist to crush them.
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