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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan father and son assaulted by police in Driru

May 18, 2015

Radio Free Asia, May 12, 2015 - Police officers in civilian dress attacked and beat a Tibetan father and his mentally unstable son in a troubled Tibetan county last week, leaving the older man in critical condition with severe injuries, according to sources in the region and in exile.

Namgyal Tenzin, 53, and his son Petse were assaulted while walking late at night on May 7 in Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county in the Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, one source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“They were attacked by a group of unidentified persons who beat them severely, leaving them with head injuries and covered in blood from cuts,” RFA’s source said.

When relatives rushed to the county police office to report the assault, they learned that it was police officers and staff themselves who had attacked the men, he said.

“The police said that the Tibetans had been arrogant when they met and had called them ‘running dogs,’ challenging them to fight ‘if they had the guts to do it,’” the source said.

The injured men meanwhile said that the officers who attacked them had been out of uniform and could not be recognized as police.

News of the attack on the two men was briefly blocked from reaching outside sources due to communication clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.

Extensive injuries

Following the assault, Tenzin was rushed in critical condition to a nearby hospital but was quickly transferred to a hospital in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa, sources said.

“On examination, he was found to have suffered a broken back and had injuries and swelling all over his body,” one source said, adding that one of Tenzin’s kidneys had also been damaged in the attack.

None of the men’s attackers have yet been detained or punished, though, leaving the local Tibetan community “shocked and disappointed,” the source said.

“This shows that the authorities place no value on the lives of ordinary inhabitants of the county."

“In the spirit of ‘the rule of law,’ the Tibetans are hoping for a fair judgment from the authorities,” he said.

Tibetans in Driru have long resisted forced displays of loyalty to Beijing, which has imposed tight restrictions in the area, including widespread detentions and a clampdown on communications.

In September 2013, Beijing began a campaign to force Tibetans to fly the Chinese national flag from their homes, sources say.

The campaign intensified in early October 2013 when villagers refused to fly the flags, throwing them instead into a river and prompting a deadly security crackdown in which Chinese police fired into unarmed crowds.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 139 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Reported by Sonam Wangdu and Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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