Protests against Chinese rule have escalated in a Tibetan-majority region of southwestern China this week with demonstrators braving beatings and detentions, Tibetan sources in the region and in exile said.
Chinese authorities have also bolstered security amid the growing protests by local Tibetans in the town of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) in the Kardze prefecture of China’s Sichuan province.
On Saga Dawa, a Buddhist holiday on June 15, nine Tibetans staged protests in downtown Kardze, a Tibetan resident of Kardze told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“One was a monk from Dhargyal monastery,” he said. “Four nuns, two [lay]women, and two youths also protested.”
“Their names and other details about them are not known. However, the movements of local people are restricted, and armed police are everywhere.”
Speaking separately, a Tibetan living in India identified the Dhargyal monk as Ngawang Lobsang Yoyo, 37.
“On June 14, he made offerings at the Kardze monastery and prayed in front of a photo of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama,” the man said, citing sources in the region.
“Then, at about 7:00 a.m. on June 15, he went to downtown Kardze and chose a spot where the largest number of people had gathered for the holiday. He threw leaflets into the air and knelt down, folding his hands in appeal and calling out for a few minutes for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for the freedom of Tibet.”
Shortly afterward, the protesting monk was detained and taken away by Chinese security forces, the man said.
Reached by telephone for comment, a Chinese police official in Kardze confirmed that “many” had been detained. “But I don’t know the reasons why. I am busy,” he said, before hanging up.
Downtown blocked off
Meanwhile, a local Tibetan said that Chinese police had blocked Kardze’s downtown area from two sides.
“Monks and nuns are not allowed to enter the city area,” he said, adding that Tibetans traveling from outside villages and nomadic areas must seek permission from local officials before entering Kardze.
The Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Sichuan province is an area known for frequent protests against Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against rule by Beijing, has accused Chinese authorities of imposing a “rule of terror” inside Tibet, citing stepped-up security measures and a clampdown on Tibetan culture and religion.