Latest reports indicate at least 15 Tibetans were injured as Chinese security forces violently dispersed protesters calling for the release of the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The protests took place on 13 July, the day after the imprisoned monk’s death was announced, in Nyagchuka (Chinese: Yajiang) county, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated into China’s Sichuan proviince). Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s monastery is in the Nyagchuka region.
According to the Tibetan government-in-exile (CTA), at least 15 Tibetans were hospitalised with gunshot wounds following the incident, including five elderly Tibetans (pictured right, via CTA).
International Campaign for Tibet reported, prior to the violent dispersal of the protestors, Tibetan representatives had attempted to speak to the local authorities. However, the authorities refused to engage in a dialogue and, according to a source quoted by ICT, the group were beaten “with brutality”. This triggered an angry response from the crowd who then “stormed the township government building”. ICT also reported that the Chinese authorities invited senior religious leaders to calm the situation.
Full details of the incident and the number of injured are difficult to ascertain as communications in the region have been restricted.
According to ICT, a group of monks is seeking to visit Chuandong prison with the aim of viewing Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s body. It is not known if the authorities will allow such access.
As well as demonstrations in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s home town, a protest has been reported outside Chuandong prison in Chengdu, Sichuan province (pictured right). Approximately 100 Tibetans conducted a sit-in protest demanding the release of Rinpoche’s body to allow traditional funeral rites. The current status of the protest and the protesters is not known.