Internal report shows China used lethal force during ‘08 Lhasa repression


(, Aug24, 2014) –While China officially claimed repeatedly that no lethal force was used during what it called riots instigated and orchestrated by the overseas Dalai clique in Mar 2008 in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, its internal document shows that firearm was used without any sort of restraint into crowds of protesters to brutally suppress the large-scale Tibetan protests. One of the reports prepared Mar 21, 2008 by the medical department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau (PSB) provide “irrefutable evidence that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force including live ammunition and machine guns to kill Tibetans,” said Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a report Aug 20.

Secret document prepared by the criminal and medical department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau. (Courtesy: TCHRD)
Secret document prepared by the criminal and medical department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau. (Courtesy: TCHRD)

The centre said that although the Chinese-language document, a copy of which it had obtained, lists only 15 people who had died from gunshot wounds, with 11 being confirmed as Tibetans, there were indications that “at least 100” Tibetans may have been killed when Chinese police fired on crowds. It has cited autopsy details contained in the report, along with witness accounts and other sources, to support its estimation.

The centre said autopsy reports performed on four Tibetans by the Lhasa PSB “show that one of them had received 17 gunshot wounds while two women were shot 15 times and eight times respectively.” It added that the four autopsied subjects had been assigned numbers 92, 93, 94, and 101, suggesting that at least 101 bodies were being held in one morgue, although this did not necessarily suggest that all of them were of Tibetans or of victims of protest violence.

China has officially maintained that only 22 people had died during the Mar 14 violence, most of them ethnic Chinese civilians and Hui Muslims, while denying that its police and paramilitary police ever fired on the protesters.

Most of the killings in Lhasa took place on Mar 14, 2008, after some five days of continuous peaceful protests. A confrontation between monks of Ramoche Temple who wanted to carry out a peace march and the Chinese paramilitary police which remained adamant in not allowing it led to a confrontation. Very soon there were riots, reportedly started by Chinese agent provocateurs, which engulfed most of the city and led to Chinese-owned shops and cars being set on fire.

The protest then spread across most of the Tibetan Plateau region. China sent in all sorts of special forces as well as regular troops while keeping the entire Tibetan populated region cut off from the outside world.


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