Dharamshala: - A leaked internal document recently received from Tibet verifies the Chinese government used "machine guns to kill Tibetans" in the mass protests against Chinese repression in 2008, stated the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
The document is a product of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau's (PSB) medical department autopsy reports prepared on 21 March 2008. According to the rights group, the document is titled, "Document of the Criminal and Medical Examination Department of the Public Security Bureau, Lhasa."
TCHRD said the paper provides irrefutable evidence that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force – including live ammunition and machine guns – to kill Tibetans during the March 2008 protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The document contains the list of the names of Tibetans killed by Chinese security forces, as well as a register ofthe deceased held at Lhasa's Xishan mortuary.
After the mass uprising against Chinese rule by Tibetans in 2008, many Tibetans in Tibet released information to the international media about the Chinese security forces' use of machine guns and armored vehicles to suppress protests via deadly means.However, during an official Chinese press conference organized on 17 March 2008 in Beijing, JampaPhuntsok – then governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) –declared, "In these smashing and looting activities, the security forces [Public Security Bureau and People's Armed Police] have not used lethal weapons. They have never shot protestors." Chinese officials maintained a narrative that lethal weapons had not been used against the protesters in Lhasa, and that these forces exercised every possible restraint in dealing with the protesters.
TCHRD holds that the official document in possession tells a different story. It contains the names of Tibetans who died during the March 2008 protests, including 22 deceased Tibetans kept at Xishan mortuary in Lhasa, as well as four other Tibetans, whose autopsy reports were included in the internal document. The total number of the deceased according to the document is 26, 15 of whom died from gun wounds. The Tibetan rights group announced this document contains information regarding the time and location of the deaths, and even includes the descriptions of where the bodies were found.
The autopsy reports on the four Tibetans show that one of them had received 17 gunshot wounds, while the two women were shot 15 times and eight times, respectively. Most of the gunshot wounds were found on their hearts, chests and feet. The group says it believes these make clear that the Chinese security forces used machine guns while dealing with the peaceful protestors.
After the suppression of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa, the Chinese government declared that 382 people and 242 security officers had been injured, and that these injuries were caused by the 'illegal' acts of the protestors. What the Chinese government did not disclose was the number of protestors who had died at the hands of security forces.
TCHRD disclosed the internal document bears four numbers: 92, 93, 94, 101. The numbers were used to identify the autopsies of each of the four Tibetans. This Tibetan NGO's critical examination confirms that no less than 101 Tibetans had been massacred by the Chinese security forces during the 2008 uprising. During a press conference organized by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamshala (India), Thubten Samphel, then secretary of the CTA's Department of Information and International Relations,stated that more than 220 Tibetans had been beaten to death by security forces in Tibetfrom March 2008 to January 2009. The exile Tibetan official also believed about 1294 Tibetans had been injured, about 5600 had been arrested, and more than 219 had disappeared.
Since the 2008 protests, the group argues the Chinese government has intensified its repression of the Tibetan people, deploying its security forces in all areas of Tibet. According to TCHRD's 2008 annual report, during the 2008 protests, at least 120 known Tibetans were killed, with more than 6500 arrested and more than 190 sentenced to prison. The Chinese government has refused to admit to extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests, and has often blamed the violence on the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in exile.