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Breaking news: Slovenian climber Pavle Kozjek's pictures from Nangpa La
MountEverest.net[Thursday, October 12, 2006 00:06]
Detail cut out image of the body of the Tibetan nun, left in a snow path. Courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
Detail cut out image of the body of the Tibetan nun, left in a snow path. Courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
6 hours ago ExplorersWeb published a call to the climbing community for pictures related to the Nangpa La shootings. 3 hours back the following email arrived: "Hi, my name is Pavle Kozjek, from Slovenia, and I just returned from Cho Oyu." Pavle and his expedition opened a new route on the SW face, in a 14,5 hour single-push ascent from ABC to the top - the only climb outside the normal route this season according to Miss Hawley.

But that's not why Pavle was writing, "I have some photos from 30.9. when the incident occured," he said.

Pavel, who has the website www.extremekanal.com attached some pics: Above, the body of the Tibetan nun, left in a snow path and below, Chinese officers in ABC with captured Tibetan childen, looking at Nangpa La.

41 Tibetan Nangpa La shooting survivors, all between 7-30 years old, have arrived at the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu. Cared for and interviewed by the International Campaign for Tibet, the refugees report that in addition to the killed nun, a 20 year old boy was wounded in his leg by bullets. Here goes a rerun from last nights story:

"I have some photos from 30.9. when the incident occured," wrote the climber. Panorama image of the shot nun lying on the pass, courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
"I have some photos from 30.9. when the incident occured," wrote the climber. Panorama image of the shot nun lying on the pass, courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
Begged for food

An eye witness, a monk, told the Phayul news source that the group begged mountaineers for food after walking for 20 days through Tibet and were eating when 5 soldiers arrived. Shots were fired for about 15 minutes and the refugees ran for their life through knee deep snow.

An American climber reported to ExWeb, "Without warning, shots rang out. Over, and over and over. The line of people started to run uphill – they were at 19,000ft. 2 people were down, and they weren't getting up."

A British climber told Save Tibet that climbers "could see Chinese soldiers quite close to Advance Base Camp kneeling, taking aim and shooting, again and again, at the group, who were completely defenceless."

Filipino climbing doctor Ted Esguerra said he saw at least three people - two women and a man - shot dead.

Romanian climber Sergiu Matei, reported,”The Chinese militias were hunting Tibetans onto the glacier...shooting them like rats, dogs, rabbits - you name it.” Sergiu said that bodies were buried on the glacier in the presence of a lot of climbers, and other people, "like if there was no one there to see it.”

Sergiu wrote that he found one of the refugees hiding in the expedition toilet tent. The climber fed him and gave him warm clothes. Later, the refugee managed to flee over the pass.

After escaping the shooting, the group scrambled for 2 hours across the Nangpa La Pass and walked for 9 days through Nepal before catching a bus to Kathmandu.

Chinese officers in ABC with captured tibetan childen, looking at Nangpa La. All images courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
Chinese officers in ABC with captured tibetan childen, looking at Nangpa La. All images courtesy of Pavle Kozjek.
None helped kids, few sent alerts

The monk said he don't know how many were shot in the end, but that 14 kids, aged 8-10, were captured along with 16 young adults. The nun who was killed, was leading the children.

The International Campaign for Tibet organization reported that the captured children were marched in single file through advance base camp at Cho Oyu - as climbers and Sherpas looked on. None of the Westerners tried to help according to the sources.

At the time of the shootings and for several days after, only two climbers alerted about the situation (an American mountain guide mailed ExplorersWeb and the climbing doctor of the Filipino Cho Oyu expedition called the Philippine Daily Inquirer on his satellite phone.)

Everest deja-vu?

Reports have said that some commercial outfitters actively persuaded climbers on the mountain to silence. British Independent states that fears for the safety of Western climbers still in Tibet and worries that China will clamp down on profitable climbing operations have meant that news of the incident has been slow to emerge. An American climber told the news source of his revulsion at the failure of other climbers to speak out. "Did it make anyone turn away and go home? Not one," he said. "People are climbing right in front of you to escape persecution while you are trying to climb a mountain. It's insane."

Romanian climber and photographer Alex Gavan reported that big expedition outfitters refused to speak for fear of being banned from the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. "And this will mean no more bucks for them anymore. And they don't want that, of course. It has indeed nothing to do with the spirit of mountaineering (which has been lost in those commercial outfits) but with the basic human values.”

One of the commercial outfitters mentioned by the Romanian climber is Himex, a large expedition outfit recently involved in a rescue scandal on Everest, where independent climber David Sharp was left dying while 40 climbers stepped past him. The expedition leader claimed lack of knowledge and the expedition guides have since retracted their initial reports that the leader had advised them to climb on.

Chinese diplomats calling climbers for interview

According to the Independent news source, Chinese diplomats in Kathmandu are now tracking down the Western climbers and Sherpas who witnessed the Nangpa La killing. The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu yesterday contacted Steve Lawes, a British police officer who witnessed the shooting, and called him in for interview.

Steve earlier told the International Campaign for Tibet that climbers were probably about 300 yards (900 ft) away from the Chinese who were shooting took place. Half-an-hour later the children were marched through ABC. "The children were in single file, about six feet away from me. They didn't see us - they weren't looking around the way kids normally would, they were too frightened. By that time, advance base camp was crawling with soldiers. We were doing our best not to do anything that might spark off more violence."

(Editors note: It's important that pictures of the shootings are made public. If anyone has such pictures please mail them to kates@savetibet.org or team@explorersweb.com or editor@phayul.com.)

The Tibetan kids and young adults stated they fled to get an opportunity to go to school and practice their religion in peace. The monk said he paid the group guide 4500 Yuan (US$570) for his escape. The average yearly income for a Tibetan herdsman is less than $200 and probably less for a Tibetan Monk. Translating the escape fee to American wages the Tibetan monk paid the equivalent of around $100,000 for his ticket to freedom.
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