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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Chinese troops suspected of shooting two Tibetan women

August 14, 2008

Free Tibet Campaign (FTC)
August 12, 2008

Free Tibet Campaign has received reports from a highly reliable
source about the shooting of two Tibetan women on 9 August in Ngaba
town in Ngaba (Ch: ABA) county.

The two women are Sonam Wangmo, 22, from Tseni township in Lower
Ngaba county, who works as a waitress in a teashop, and Zhang Yeying,
28, from Gyarong (Ch: Jiarong), in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture in Kham (Ch: Sichuan). They were en route to a mobile
phone shop at approximately 4:30pm when shots were fired, hitting
Sonam Wangmo in the arm and Zhang Yeying in the hand.

Free Tibet Campaign's source spoke to eyewitnesses who reported
hearing four or five shots and stated that the shots appeared to come
from a nearby building known to be accommodating troops recently
quartered in the town. Tibetans who went to the assistance of the
women, reported that Chinese soldiers arrived on the scene shortly
after the shots were fired. The witnesses report that the Chinese
troops claimed that the firing had been a mistake. The women were
taken to the Ngaba County Civil Hospital. Their present medical
condition is unknown.

An atmosphere of great fear is reported in Ngaba town, where a 7pm
curfew has been in effect since 1 August. The curfew is being
maintained by a five-fold increase in the number of Chinese soldiers
based in Ngaba town. It is not known whether the soldiers are from
regular People's Liberation Army (PLA) units or from the People's
Armed Police (PAP). There are reports that checkpoints manned by
armed soldiers have been set up on each road in Ngaba town and
Tibetans registered in other towns are not being allowed in to Ngaba.

The crackdown appears to extend beyond Ngaba town. Eyewitnesses
report troops performing military drills (see photos below) on
grassland used as pasture for Tibetan nomads from the nearby villages
of Jadhe and Chushu, trampling the crops and grass. Most of the
guests from the local Ngaba county government were invited to observe
the exercise.

Free Tibet Campaign is unable to confirm the reason for the huge
influx of troops in Ngaba town, however it is reported that the
troops will be there until after the end of the Beijing Olympics,
suggesting their purpose is to suppress any protests by Tibetans
during the Games.

Ngaba town was the scene of a brutal crackdown by Chinese security
forces in March following the outbreak of protests throughout Tibet
against Chinese rule. On March 16 Chinese security forces fired live
rounds into a crowd of peacefully protesting Tibetans, killing at
least 13 according to eyewitnesses(1). The shooting was widely
reported in the international media.

Director of Free Tibet Campaign, Stephanie Brigden, said:

"The Chinese government must launch an immediate and open
investigation into these shootings.

"Gordon Brown, when he meets President Hu at the Games later this
month, must seek an explanation for the military build up and
restrictions in Ngaba town and he must publicly condemn the worsening
human rights situation in Tibet.
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