BBC TwoThis World


Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Murder in the Snow

This World tells the powerful story of a group of mountaineers who witnessed and filmed the shooting of Tibetan refugees as they attempted to flee over the Himalayas into Nepal.

Chinese soldiers with captured Tibetan children
Murder in the Snow
Monday, 10 November, 2008
1900 GMT on BBC Two

In September 2006 Chinese border guards opened fire on a group of Tibetans high on the Nangpa Pass. A 17-year-old nun, Kelsang Namtso, was killed and another man confirmed injured.

The horrific scenes were captured on video by Western climbers.

This film interweaves the stories of the Tibetan survivors who escaped and the climbers, using their dramatic footage of the unfolding event.

Murder in the Snow tells of young Tibetans who risk their lives each year to illegally cross the rugged Himalaya Mountains in an attempt to see their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or attend school in India.

It is a dangerous journey. In September 2006, more than 70 young people travelled for three nights in the back of a truck as it drove up towards the mountains.

Then the refugees walked for 10 more nights, with inadequate clothing and limited food and water, to the base of the infamous 6000-metre Nangpa Pass, an ancient trade route to Nepal.

Among those who paid their hard-earned savings to illegal mountain-guides, were teenage farm girls Dolma Palki and her best friend Kelsang Namtso.

As the pilgrims picked their way up the snow-covered pass, a group of mountain climbers watched in horror from a nearby camp as the Chinese border police opened fire on the refugees.

The story broke around the world when American mountain guide, Luis Benitez, emailed his account of the shooting to a popular climbing website.

This World will be broadcast on Monday 10 November at 1900 GMT on BBC Two.

Producer: Sally Ingleton

Director: Mark Gould

Executive producer: Lucy Hetherington

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