(TibetanReview.net, Aug15, 2014) –Some 10 villagers were seriously injured and many others detained on Aug 12 after Chinese paramilitary police opened fire on a crowd of hundreds of Tibetans who had gathered in front of the Lusho (Chinese: Luoxu) Township government offices in Sershul (Shiqu) County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, demanding the release of a respected village leader who had been detained the night before. The area is now reported to be under tight security clampdown with the local Tibetans, including the elderly and children, being subjected to interrogation and torture and all communication lines being cut off.
Wangdak, 45-year-old leader of Denma Shugpa Village, was taken away at midnight of Aug 11-12 after he had complained to the authorities about the harassment of Tibetan women by senior Chinese officials during a cultural performance which the local community had been forced to host during their visit to the county. But rather than listening to their complaints, the authorities called in security forces to disperse the crowd.
The armed police were reported to have fired teargas shells and live ammunition into the crowd. Around 10 Tibetans, including a son and a brother named Sangpo of Wangdak, received serious bullet injuries, Radio Free Asia (Washington) Aug 13 cited an exile Tibetan from the area with local contacts as saying. The two were said to have received two bullet wounds each.
Following the brutal attack, many adults fled their village to hide in the surrounding hills, leaving behind mostly women, children and elderly who were subjected to interrogation and torture by the Chinese. Reinforcement was called in later in the day and the village was fully surrounded by troops.
Wangdak had voiced strong objection to the senior Chinese officials’ ill-treatment of Tibetan women during the cultural show, resulting in a verbal altercation. Enraged Chinese officials then accused Wangdak of having held an illegal ceremony at the beginning of a traditional local horse-racing festival, which included an incense-burning ritual and prayer offerings. Wangdak was the chairman of the Denma Horse Festival Committee which organized the event.