October 11, 2006
Chinese diplomats in the Nepalese capital of
This ominous development comes as fears grow for the safety of a group of Tibetan children, aged between six and 10, who were marched away after at least two refugees including a nun, were shot dead.
The children were being sent by their parents into exile in
The nun who was killed, Kelsang Namtso, 17, was leading the children. A 13-year-old boy was also gunned down during 15 minutes of shooting witnessed by Western climbers, including two British policemen, 1,000 yards away at
Later three Chinese soldiersmarched the child-ren through the camp - some 12 miles west of
Fears for the safety of Western climbers still in
"Did it make anyone turn away and go home? Not one," he said. "People are climbing right in front of you to escape persecution while you are trying to climb a mountain. It's insane."
So far there has been no official Chinese comment about the incident.
The shooting happened at around 10.30am on 30 September. Mr Laws said: "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."
Between 2,500 and 4,000 Tibetans make the crossing through the Himalayas via
Mary Beth Markey, executive director of the International Campaign for
'Soldiers started shooting and I ran for my life'
This is the eyewitness account of a Tibetan monk:
We started walking early through the Nangpa La Pass. Then the soldiers arrived. They started shooting and we ran; there were 15 children from eight to 10; only one escaped arrest. I just ran to save my life by praying to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think the soldiers fired for 15 minutes. They were shouting, but I did not hear them... I just heard gunshots passing my ears. I don't remember how many people were shot. First 36 people escaped, and the rest came later.
The Pass was about two hours and the snow was knee deep. The nun who was with us was shot and a boy was shot in the leg. There were people behind us who might be arrested. We don't know because we reached
After the attack about 41 refugees, including a seven-year-old girl escaped over the pass into
Chinese border security personnel now have custody of nine children, aged between six and eight, as well as an old man.
The Chinese embassy in
Mr Lawes, speaking from