Drunk Chinese Police Detain, Torture Tibetan Festival-Goers

Drunk Chinese police detained and tortured Tibetan spectators at an international archery competition in China’s Qinghai province after they refused to drink with them, according to sources.

The assault occurred on the second day of the annual event held from Sept. 10-12 at Markuthang town in the Malho (in Chinese, Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Chentsa (Jianzha) county,  the sources said this week.

“On the second day of the festival, when spectators had gathered for their dinner, a group of county police turned up drunk and demanded that the Tibetans join them in drinking toasts,” Jamyang Dargyal, a Tibetan living in exile, told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing contacts in his native Chentsa.

“They were told that if they refused, the police would close the festival early,” Dargyal said.

One of the Tibetans, the elder brother of a local businessman named Wangchuk, asked why police were harassing festival-goers who were “simply eating meals paid for with their own money,” and was immediately seized and shoved into a police truck, Dargyal said.

Wangchuk and a friend named Tenzin Rinchen, a resident of Bayan (Hualong) county in neighboring Tsoshar (Haidong) prefecture, tried to intervene but were also forced into the vehicle, and all three were beaten as they were being taken to the Chentsa county detention center, he said.

“That night, about eight policemen brought in boxes of beer, hung the Tibetans from the ceiling, and after drinking struck them with the empty bottles on their ribs and knees, later forcing them to the floor and urinating on them,” Dargyal said.

On the morning of Sept. 12, Tenzin Rinchen was found to be so badly hurt that he could not move, and he was taken to the Malho prefecture hospital for treatment, Dargyal said.

“Next day, he was moved to a hospital in [the provincial capital] Xining, which reported that he had suffered six broken ribs. But after being treated there for a week, a group of Chentsa police suddenly arrived and took him back to a hospital in the county to be treated.”

“His condition was reported as critical, and he could neither eat nor speak,” Dargyal said.

Rinchen’s family—who had earlier been told by police that he had already been released—were then told to take him from the hospital to be cared for at home, “but they took him instead to the provincial hospital for further treatment.”

Wangchuk and his brother, who had also been assaulted in detention, were released from custody on Sept. 22, with no word yet available on their condition.

Reported by Chakmo Tso and Guru Choegyi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.