London, October 11, 2006: Tibetans in UK staged a candle light vigil and demonstrate in front of the Chinese Embassy to protest against the recent fatal shooting of unarmed Tibetans as they tried to escape across the Himalayas from Chinese occupied Tibet into neighbouring Nepal.
Shocking eyewitness reports from members of the party that successfully crossed into Nepal have confirmed that Chinese forces opened fire on the party on 30 September 2006, killing a 17-year-old nun. Up to five more Tibetans are feared dead after the soldiers, stationed at the Nangpa Pass between Tibet and Nepal, opened fire on the caravan of more than 70 escaping Tibetans, which included children as young as seven. The news first broke on the popular mountaineering website www.mounteverest.net. Foreign mountaineers at the nearby Cho Oyu advance base camp witnessed the incident and described how the soldiers took careful aim and fired repeatedly on the defenceless Tibetans, even as they attempted to escape uphill.
Forty-three people from the group have successfully crossed into Nepal and have now reached the United Nations sponsored Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre in Kathmandu. The fate of the other Tibetans, including at least 14 children, remains unknown. There is concern that many of them may have been injured during the shooting and apprehended by the security forces.
Pema Yoko of Tibetan youth UK said “The killings expose the true nature of China ’s brutal rule in Tibet and contradict recent Chinese propaganda reports touting China ’s benevolent policies towards Tibetans. As a Tibetan living in the UK , it is important for me to voice my protest to the Chinese government on behalf of Tibetans in Tibet who face this persecution and cannot speak out for fear of government reprisal.”
Tibetans and its supporters strongly protests against the China’s inhuman act against innocent Tibetans in Tibet shouted slogans of “Stop killing in Tibet”; “Stop torture in Tibet” and “Free Tibet”. Lighting of candles and recitation of prayer pays tribute to the brave Tibetans who have lost their lives.
There are frequent reports of Tibetan refugees being shot at on both sides of the Nepal-Tibet border but this is the most serious known attack in recent years. The fact that many Tibetan traders frequently cross the Nangpa Pass to sell goods in a nearby market without attracting the attention of the border patrol suggests that this was a calculated attack.
“Every year, 3,000 Tibetans attempt to escape into Nepal and India to seek freedom and education in Tibetan culture and Buddhist studies. If the situation in Tibet is fine as claimed by the official Chinese propaganda, then there would not be any need for Tibetans to risk their lives to cross over into Nepal and India. We condemn this atrocity and call on the Chinese government to immediately halt their oppression and violence against the Tibetan people.” Metok Sither, a spokesperson from the Tibetan Youth in the UK stated.
Tibetans and their supporters call on the Chinese government to immediately release the detained children and other refugees and to halt their persistent violence against the Tibetan people.