BEIJING (AP) — Three more Tibetan protesters shot and detained by Chinese authorities died in jail after being denied medical treatment, bringing the death toll from recent violence to five, according to overseas Tibetan rights groups and a U.S.-backed broadcaster.
Rights groups said Chinese security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters on Aug. 12, wounding at least 10 people, before they detained the protesters and rounded up more male villagers in the southwestern province of Sichuan — the site of repeated ethnic protests and violent suppression.
The London-based Free Tibet on Wednesday identified the dead as Tsewang Gonpo, 60, Yeshe, 42, and Jinpa Tharchin, 18, who had joined about 100 Tibetans to protest the detention of a Tibetan village leader in Ganzi prefecture.
The U.S.-backed broadcaster Radio Free Asia also reported the deaths.
The Washington-based rights group International Campaign for Tibet said earlier that one protester identified as Lo Palsang committed suicide while in custody while another unnamed person died from untreated wounds.
Free Tibet said it was unclear when Tsewang Gonpo, Yeshe, and Jinpa Tharchin died but that their bodies were released to their families on Monday.
The Ganzi government and police did not respond to media inquiries by phone Thursday. Such reports are difficult to confirm because of tight information controls by the Chinese government, which has barred foreign journalists from traveling to Tibetan areas to report independently.
Tibetans have for decades protested against the Chinese rule and sought the return of their spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who has been in exile since an unsuccessful uprising against Beijing in 1959.
In recent years, more than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest the Beijing rule, but the wave of self- immolations appear to be diminishing as Beijing cracks down on such fiery protests.