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Nangpa La Shooting - first mountaineer reporter's eye witness account
Phayul[Thursday, October 12, 2006 00:20]
"I would just ask them why.. simply why when you have people that are trying to go for better education, a better life and to follow their own religion, why would you choose to end someone's life, for something simply wanting a better life for themselves"

By Tenzin Choephel
Phayul Correspondent

Kathmandu, October 11 - The humanitarian mountaineer who first reported shooting of Tibetans on the way to Nangpa La Pass by Chinese Border Security Soldiers visited the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu, Nepal today, he met with some of those who escaped the Nangpa La shooting, talked with them and also took pictures with them.

According to him, "September the 30th we were on the Cho Oyu, it was around breakfast time, the first thing we heard was five shots very very quickly, after those five shots, we all came outside, Sherpas and westerners, to look at the Nangpa La Pass, we saw a line of refugees making up the pass and right behind them obviously Chinese armed with guns, as soon as the Tibetans saw the Chinese with guns, they proceeded to go even faster and they started shooting even more, as the shooting went on, we saw two people fall down, we could confirm it with binoculars and they did not get up again, I am not sure whether they were killed or injured, I was trying to confirm the reports that seven people were killed and put into a crevasse by Chinese army, there were two bodies on the snow, there were seven bodies that nobody could account for because there were Chinese army all over the base camp, there were about 25 soldiers, so no one went down to confirm this, there were two stories that came from base camp, one was about one of the Tibetan guides hiding in a toilet tent until after dark and then crossing the pass, those same people who told that story also said that seven were also killed, so I would pretty much believe this to be true; the problem of getting a photo or video proof is that the base camp is about half kilometers away and it is difficult without a powerful camera to see exactly what happened, I saw with binoculars that there were two bodies lying on the snow, if anyone was rolling a camera on that day I would request them to come forward with the film".

When asked what would he say to the Chinese Embassy if contacted, he said, "I would just ask them why.. simply why when you have people that are trying to go for better education, a better life and to follow their own religion, why would you choose to end someone's life, for something simply wanting a better life for themselves". He also said that they would talk openly to the international press once all the mountaineers are out of Tibet because he fears that those in Tibet might have some trouble at the border. He still did not wish to disclose his name and identity. The mountaineering season would probably end in about three weeks.

He also said that he heard two British climbers, one a British police officer who was called by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for meeting but did not know the details, they already left Nepal the next day, however, he was not yet contacted by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. It is not clearly known what the Chinese Embassy is trying to do by interviewing these mountaineers, it was reported that the Chinese diplomats are trying to gag all the mountaineers and Sherpas from speaking out about the incident. The mountaineer concluded if he were contacted by the Chinese Embassy then he could ask them why they are trying to stop them from speaking about the incident. It could be speculated that the incident could have some impact on China's image as they prepare to host the Olympics in 2008.
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