By Wasfia Nazreen
On the second day of the Tibetan New Year (19th February 2007), two Tibetans wearing tiger and leopard skin were sitting in front of the Jokhang at the Tsug-lha-khang in Lhasa. For some Tibetans Jokhang is one of the most sacred temples. Tibetans present at the scene were offended by this act of using animal skins and shortly this led to a gathering of arguments between the two Tibetans wearing animal skins and the general crowd. Following some abusive remarks, the mob started beating the two Tibetans wearing animal skin, who were then badly injured and hospitalized.
On the fourth day of the Tibetan New Year (21st February), one un-uniformed Chinese policeman wearing tiger and leopard skin sat at the same location in front of Jokhang, Tsuf-lha-khang. On that day, the Tibetans who were circumambulating their sacred Jokhang, once again started gathering around the man wearing tiger skin, not realizing it was a trap set up by the Chinese Authorities. Following a heated argument between the crowd and the policeman (dressed as a civilian), when it was right about to break into a physical fight, the police official took out a gun and pointed at the crowd. Almost immediately, the Chinese Police arrived at the spot and surrounded the mob in two circles making it impossible for the Tibetans to escape. The police force was in large numbers and fully equipped with guns and ammunition. This unexpected arrival then resulted in a merciless attack on innocent Tibetan pilgrims who could not physically manage to escape the two layers of barricades. All those present were brutally beaten by the Chinese Police and reliable sources say fourteen Tibetans are still missing. It is not yet clear whether they have been arrested and imprisoned or killed.
It is worth asking one's conscience why the Chinese police official was wearing tiger and leopard skin and sitting on the same spot equipped with a gun and how come it was only two days after a similar incident had taken place on the same location. Also, a fully organized Police force in such large numbers managed to arrive at the spot within minutes and arranged themselves quite efficiently. It is worth questioning the convenience of such well-planned opportunities that the Chinese authorities continue to take advantage of, in any available or created form to suppress the Tibetans. More so, there was absolutely no legal reasons for the Police force to beat up the Tibetan pilgrims present there, and that so mercilessly.
In conclusion, there still is no whereabout of the fourteen missing Tibetans. The international community of human-rights activists are urgently called forth to look into this obscurity, since it has been reported by reliable sources that the Chinese authorities are doing their best to put this incident under the carpet.
Information used by kind permission of Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa, President of Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamsala.