(TibetanReview.net, Aug28, 2016) – China unleashed hundreds of paramilitary police on a remote Tibetan nomadic village in Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) County of Sichuan Province in Oct 2015 after its residents had protested to demand the arrest and investigation of a local Buddhist monastic leader known to be a womanizer and two policemen for their suspected involvement in the murder of a young local Tibetan woman. A few stones had been thrown during the protest, hitting a police car and office building, and the authorities used it as a pretext to accuse the local Tibetans of being “splittists”, warranting the use of brutal armed force.
At the centre of the raging controversy was Nenang Tulku, the lama of the local Gertse Dralak monastery known for having had relationships with several women in the region, and discarding them when they became pregnant. In 2015, he was said to have begun a relationship with a woman named Tsering Tso, aged 27, belonging to Ragya Village (Jiqie No. 2 Village) in the county’s Tsalung (Chalong) Township. She was last seen in the company of Nenang Tulku and two bachelor policemen who lived by themselves, drinking beer in the local police station. She was given a lift to that place on Oct 4 evening by her father after she was told by the lama, her boyfriend, that he was ill and wanted to see her.
The next morning Tsering Tso’s lifeless body was seen hanging on a small bridge near her home. Her family and local villagers gathered outside the local police station to demand answers. The police took no time to rule it as suicide.
But the Tibetans were not convinced. Some reported seeing bruises on her body and said that a doctor’s report had noted a wound on her head as well as a broken neck. They also said her clothes looked as though they had been put on after her death.
And the lama, who had a reputation as a womanizer, had disappeared.
That night and the following morning, an angry crowd stormed the gates of the police station, including with throwing of some stones.
On Oct 10, five days after Tsering Tso’s body was found, hundreds of armed soldiers arrived in the town and descended on her funeral ceremony in the remote hamlet, said a washingtonpost.com report Aug 26. They raided and ransacked relatives’ homes, “smashing everything and stabbing knives into sacks of rice and butter,” one relative was quoted as saying. “We’ve only seen that kind of brutality before in TV dramas about Japanese invaders.”
The report cited witnesses as saying more than 40 people were tied up, beaten with metal clubs, piled into a truck “like corpses” and placed in detention.
So much blood was shed that “stray dogs could not finish lapping it up”, the local Tibetans were reported to have written in a rare open letter addressed to President Xi Jinping, asking for justice. It was written in the name of 700 residents across 13 communities in the area.
Most of those detained were gradually released in the weeks and months that followed, with many of them having to be taken straightaway to hospital. One relative had scars on his head from a beating that he has said left his body drenched in blood. Another relative walked with a limp after being beaten on his legs; a third, a Buddhist monk, was beaten so badly on the head that he bled from one ear and today cannot walk at all. Family members who worked for the government lost their jobs.
And on May 20, five relatives and family friends were each sentenced to two and half years in prison. Acquaintances were cited as saying they were jailed for refusing to sign a statement absolving the police of blame for Tsering Tso’s death.
“My beloved daughter was murdered without any justice being given by the government. Instead, they simply arrested more innocent people and sent them to jail,” Tsering Tso’s 49-year-old mother Adhey was quoted as saying, fighting back tears as she sat on the grass with her 83-year-old mother and two young sons.
Internet connections remained cut off in the township since the incident, while relatives were threatened with further punishment if they talked to outsiders. The village — a scattering of tents and yaks in a scenic, sweeping grasslands valley — has been told it will not get government subsidies for roads or houses for three years because of its “bad character,” the report added.