By B. Raman
Protests by Tibetans have spread in Western Sichuan, resulting in one more incident of firing by the local police causing the death of one more Tibetan.
According to my sources, there have been three incidents of Police firing since January 23, 2012, resulting in the deaths of 12 Tibetans, but the Chinese authorities have admitted only three deaths in three incidents. They have strongly denied reports of larger fatalities.
The latest incident of police firing has been reported from the Barma township, where one Tibetan youth died on January 26 when the local police opened fire on protesting Tibetans. The Barma township is located in the Zamthang (in Chinese, Rangtang) county in Ngaba. The Tibetans were protesting against the arrest of Tharpa, another Tibetan, by the police for disseminating anti-Beijing leaflets along with the Tibetan youth (Ugyen), who was killed in the subsequent firing. The death of Ugyen led to nearly 10,000 Tibetans from the nearby areas of Dzitoe and Dzime rushing to Dzamthang to join the protest against the arrest of Tharpa and the death of Ugyen.
On January 26, there were also reports of protest and solidarity demonstrations by Tibetans of Qinghai’s Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) Tibetan prefecture.
According to Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, Chinese security forces have become more aggressive in containing the protests, with two Tibetans reported killed by official Chinese media in protests in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on Monday and Tuesday.
The Police have tightened security in Lhasa, the capital of the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region, after one incident of anti-Beijing leaflet dissemination near the Jorkhang temple.
Chinese micro-bloggers have been reporting movement of trucks carrying police reinforcements to the affected areas in Western Sichuan and cancellation of the Chinese New Year leave of police personnel posted in the Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan.