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Tibetan killings: Beijing tries to gag witnesses

Tibetan killings: Beijing tries to gag witnesses

Author: ANI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 11, 20006
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2153747.cms

Chinese officials in Kathmandu are trying to track down and silence the hundreds of western climbers and sherpas who witnessed the killing of Tibetan refugees on the Nangpa La mountain pass last week.

Two British mountaineers had seen Chinese border guards kill a woman and a group of children who were trying to cross over to Nepal.

The woman was later identified as a 17-year-old nun, Kelsang Namtso. A 13-year-old boy was also gunned down during 15 minutes of shooting witnessed by the Western climbers, including two British policemen, 1,000 yards away at Cho Oyu camp.

Later three Chinese soldiers were seen marching the children through the camp - 12 miles west of Mount Everest - as climbers and Sherpas looked on. Chinese officials could not be contacted.

But fears have been expressed over the safety of western climbers still in Tibet as well as over the fact that China might clamp down on profitable Everest expedition, which costs up to £30,000.

Steve Lawes, one of the British police officer who witnessed the shooting said the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu called him for an interview.

"It was intimidating atmosphere as the security personnel 'took over' the camp at Cho Oyu, on the border between Tibet and Nepal. 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," the Independent quoted him as saying.

"The shooting happened at around 10.30 am on 30 September. A group of between 20 and 30 people on foot (was) heading towards the Nangpa La Pass. Then those of us at advance base camp heard two shots, which may have been warning shots.

"The group started to cross the glacier and there were more shots. We were probably about 300 yards away from the Chinese who were shooting. This time it definitely wasn't warning shots: the soldiers were putting their rifles to their shoulders, taking aim, and firing towards the group. One person fell, got up, but then fell again. We had a telescope with us but the soldiers took this. Later they used it to look at the dead body," he said.


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