General Punished for Shooting Tibetans

The top Chinese general in Tibet is being forced into early retirement over the shooting of Tibetans trying to escape across the border to Nepal, a rights group reported Tuesday.

General Punished for Shooting Tibetans
The incident in September 2006, in which a Tibetan man and Buddhist nun were killed, was filmed by a foreign climbing team and repeatedly shown on international television, forcing Chinese officials to explain the border guards' actions.

The video showed a figure firing a rifle and another falling in the snow of a mountain pass, apparently wounded. Another scene showed children walking in front of men carrying guns and wearing Chinese military-style uniforms.

Lt. Gen. Meng Jinxi was criticized over the incident and will be forced to step down, Hong Kong's Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

It said Meng, a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, would not be named as a delegate to the party's twice-a-decade congress this fall, despite being three years below the cutoff age of 65.

Beijing has said its border forces were attacked and acted in self-defense on Sept. 30 when they tried to stop about 70 people trying to leave the country illegally over the 19,028-foot Nangpa La Pass.

China's Foreign Ministry described the incident as "a large-scale organized border crossing case," and said authorities were prosecuting those captured by border police.

Thousands of Tibetans flee the Himalayan region each year, trying to reach Dharamsala, India, the base of the Tibetan government in exile led by the Dalai Lama, Tibet's traditional leader who fled in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against Chinese forces that occupied the previously self-governing region in 1959.

Many are teenage Tibetans and novice monks and nuns seeking religious education they cannot get in Tibet.

China has been accused of attacking Tibetan Buddhism -- the foundation of most Tibetans' identity -- by enforcing strict controls on religious institutions and vilifying the Dalai Lama.

AP
Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2007, 16:50
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