There is no excuse, China: Nangpa La video shows border guards sharpshoot refugees

Posted: Oct 14, 2006 01:13 am EDT

At first they said they didn't know. "I've seen the reports about this, but I've no knowledge of the specific situation," Liu Jianchao, a ministry spokesman, told a news conference in Beijing about the shootings at Nangpa La.

That's when the pictures showed up.

Only hours later, China admitted. But now they claimed self-defense. A Xinhua report said that the people trying to cross the border attacked the soldiers, who were then "forced to defend themselves."

Fear of monks and a child

Not a chance, reported Romanian climber Sergiu Matei. The Chinese militias were hunting Tibetans onto the glacier...shooting them like rats, dogs, rabbits - you name it. And Sergiu has video to prove it.
Click to watch video at YouTube

(Story edited March 2007: The video has been moved from ProTV to YouTube)

Taipei Times wrote 2 years back about a China/Tibet incident, "the cowardice of the Communists is apparent. How truly timid and insecure they are to fear monks and a child."

The Nangpa La refugees were mostly kids led by a young nun who was shot dead and a number of young adults. Out of the group of 70 people, 40 escaped but 30, including a large number of children still remain unaccounted for.

The video clearly depicts that the Tibetans had their backs to the soldiers, were unarmed, and offered no resistance. The nun who died, Kelsang Namtso, appears to have been shot in the back. During the shooting, a mountaineer in the cameramans group can be heard saying: "They are shooting them like dogs."

Czech climber's deja-vu

The video also shows a refugee hiding out in the expedition toilet tent, as described by Serguei in his earlier dispatch.

Serguei told International Campaign for Tibet: "He was terrified and shaking. I couldnt think of what to say so I asked him if he was going to see the Dalai Lama, and when he heard those words he put his hands together in prayer. We hid him in the mess tent for several hours and when it seemed to be safe, I took him back onto the pass."

In their press release, the International Campaign for Tibet organization writes that a Czech climbing expedition leader, who also witnessed the shooting, Josef Simunek, said: "We felt as though it was 20 years ago in our country in the Communist time, when Czech soldiers killed Czech citizens in their escape over the Iron Curtain."

International Campaign for Tibet demands a full accounting by the Chinese government and assurances of the safety of the children now apparently in the custody of the Chinese military.

Read their full report here.

The silent Genocide

Before the Chinese came in and took over Tibet (July 1949), Tibet had 5 million people and was a sovereign state independent of China. One million Tibetans have since been killed, and 6,000 monasteries have been ruined. Today the Tibetan people are a minority in their own country. All the better jobs go to the Chinese people living in Tibet. The voice of Tibetan culture is now merely a rasp in the wind, its colorful history a shadow of the past.

Most climbers, except for a number of east Europeans were reluctant to speak up about a murder taking place right before their eyes. Some commercial expedition leaders even actively persuaded climbers to keep quiet. Big expedition outfitters will never speak about that," dispatched Serguei's climbing mate, Alex Gavan. "Otherwise they will be banned from the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. And this will mean no more bucks for them anymore. And they don't want that, of course. It has indeed nothing to do with the spirit of mountaineering (which has been lost in those commercial outfits) but with the basic human values.

No more excuses, China

This indifference however also mirrors the world. For who will speak out against the Tibet genocide, asks the Taipei Times journalist:

"As long as the world is content to make money in China and ignore its human rights violations and the commission of genocide, China will thumb its nose at the UN. But appeasement is dangerous. The power of knowing they can simply destroy a people while the world checks its wallet will only encourage the Chinese Communists to pursue other plans of aggression. Who will speak out against this genocide?"

The day before Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, demanding the mass extermination of the Jewish inhabitants there, he explained away his actions to his officers by saying with a laugh, "Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?"

Apparently, we still do. One week ago a Tibetan nun was shot in her back as the world watched. No more excuses, China. There's only one thing that will justify the blood on Nangpa La: Give Tibet back to its people.

(By Patrick Johannesen, U.S.M.C. )

I wonder in the night time
I wonder who will hear
I wonder if they know...
How close, I am near.

Do they have a family?
Do I give a fuck?
They will only live...
If they fucking duck!!

The first one did not duck,
The other looks my way.
I crank another round home
And send him on his way.

Its baggage and I know it.
Man, it really sucks.
If only Id not been there and...
If only they had ducked.

Eyes of God--a song by Kaiser Amadeus 7

We raided the land and we despoiled their temples. We wasted the ancients. So complex, the ruins of what was so simple. We left the alters overturned and defiled. We massacred millions. We bowed to the fires where their bodies were piled. We beheaded the priest. We hung the monks from high. We murdered their children, and we tortured the husbands, we raped the wives. We sat our flag in their ground, even then, marked with lies. We took the face of a people, and, in the name of greed, we burned out the eyes. But the eyes see now, and the eyes saw then, that the abomination is so much deeper within. That the fire was futile on the tip of that rod, for the eyes that were burned were the eyes of God. Vengeance is yours, my lord. Be benevolent as thy word, and be merciful with thy sword. Vengeance is yours, my lord.


Guards forced to defend themselves? "The refugees were completely defenseless kids and youngsters, hunted like rats," say climbers. Half-an-hour later 14 children were marched through ABC in single file. "They didn't see us - they weren't looking around the way kids normally would, they were too frightened," reported one climber. Image of some of the children and border guards, courtesy of Slovenian climber Pavle Kozjek (click to enlarge).
Body of the Tibetan nun, left in a snow path on Nangpa La. Courtesy of Pavle Kozjek (click to enlarge).

"This free Tibet thing is bullshit," Rogers told Benitez according to the Mens Journal article. "The Chinese have done more for Tibet than you know." Image of Nangpa La pass and Tibetan youth compiled by ExplorersWeb.

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