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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?"

New video of torture exposes Chinese brutality in Tibet

March 23, 2009

The Tibetan government-in-exile, led by the Dalai
Lama, has released a video that appears to show
Tibetan monks being tortured by Chinese security forces.
By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai Correspondent
The Telegraph (UK)
March 21, 2009

Video footage from Tibet is extremely rare. The
film, which shows violent scenes from the March
2008 riots, is the clearest evidence yet that
Tibetans were subject to police brutality as
China struggled for control in Lhasa.

In the seven-minute film, excerpts of which are
shown above, Chinese police kick and beat
apparently defenceless Tibetan protesters and
monks after they have been handcuffed and are lying on the ground.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is based
in Dharamsala in India, said the treatment of the
captives violated international norms and amounted to torture.

Until now, the only video evidence of the riots
in March was shot from long-distance and showed
clashes in the streets of Lhasa but not evidence of torture.

"This is the first footage which visibly proves
the use of brutal and excessive force against
Tibetan protesters. It clearly challenges
official Chinese statements that disproportionate
force was not used on unarmed protesters," said
Stephanie Brigden, the director of the international campaign group Free Tibet.

The second half of the video, which is too
graphic to show here, documents a serious set of
injuries allegedly sustained by a Tibetan worker
after he intervened in the beating of a monk.

According to the Tibetan government-in-exile,
Chinese police shot at the man, who was named as
Tendar, and then stubbed cigarettes out on his
body, forced a nail through his right foot and beat him with an electric baton.

He was initially taken to a military hospital
but, according to the video, his wounds were
merely wrapped in cling film, which allowed them
to rot. He subsequently died of his injuries in June 2008.

The video was shot as the riots spread from Lhasa
to the rest of Tibet and into the surrounding
provinces of Qinghai and Gansu in March of last
year. With the Olympic Games helping to focus
international attention on China, the authorities
launched a heavy-handed response to try to snuff out dissent.

China has repeatedly denied any brutality in
Tibet and angrily rejected a call from the United
Nations last November to clarify the measures it
took in the wake of the riots in March. It
accused the UN of "prejudice against China" and
of fabricating evidence to "deliberately politicise the issue".

But the Tibetan government-in-exile has said that
Chinese troops killed 220 Tibetans and injured
almost 1,300 during the protests. It has claimed
that 5,600 Tibetans were arrested, and more than
1,000 have "simply disappeared". Beijing has said
that only 22 people died in the rioting.

The Tibetan government-in-exile compared the new
footage to a video of Chinese police beating
monks at the Jokhang temple in 1988, which was
the first time that Chinese brutality was captured on film.

The anniversary of last year's riots apparently
passed by peacefully last week, as China poured
police onto the streets of Lhasa to ensure
control. But all foreigners have been banned from
Tibet and from large swathes of the surrounding
provinces in order to close the region to outside eyes.

In Amdo, the north-eastern Tibetan state, human
rights activists reported that more than 100
monks had been taken away for "re-education" from
the Lutsang monastery in the run-up to the 50th
anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile from Tibet last week.

Police are still checking cars on roads leading
to Tibet and motorway toll booths outside
Chengdu, in Sichuan, are manned with heavily-armed officers.

Chengdu is often used as a starting point to
journey to Tibet and security is particularly
tight there. Video cameras have been installed in
taxis and all taxi drivers are required to report
any foreigners to the authorities.

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