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Protests continue despite call to 'smash' separatists PDF Print E-mail
[6 March 2012] As the 10 March Tibetan National Uprising anniversary draws closer, the Chinese government has tightened security in Tibet even further. Officials have made stark warnings against any form of dissent and Tibetans are being arbitrarily arrested. Despite the crackdown, sporadic protests are still taking place with Tibetans demonstrating against China's oppresive regime.

Page Index
1. Tibet chief orders protests to be 'crushed'
2. China claims protests and self-immolations are being instigated
3. Monks continue to protest
4. Prominent Tibetans detained
5. Hundreds of pilgrims face 're-education'
Further reading

1. Tibet chief orders protests to be 'crushed'

At the beginning of March China's top official in Tibet ordered local authorities to tighten control ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.

Chen QuanguoIn a written notice published on 1 March in the state-run newspaper, Tibet Daily, TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo (pictured right) called on officials and security forces to "carry out prevention and control measures in full force to crush plots aiming to sabotage stability in Tibet and threaten security of the state by hostile forces and the Dalai Group."

Mr Chen also called for communications to be monitored, officials to intensify their poitical work at monasteries and for monks and nuns "to be patriotic, love their religion and respect law and order".

Liu QibaoIn neighbouring Sichuan province, Party Secretary Liu Qibao (pictured right) paid an official visit to Kirti monastery in Ngaba in February, to review the security arrangements imposed by the local authorities. Liu warned Tibetans against protests and said, "We should resolutely crack down on separatist activities and crimes of all kinds, uphold state unification, ethnic unity and the normal legal order."

2. China claims protests and self-immolations are being instigated

CPPCC 2012According to the state-run newspaper China Daily, a number of claims have been made about the current crisis in Tibet at China's annual parliamentary session, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (pictured), which began on 3 March. Zhao Qizheng, an official spokesman, said the self-immolations in Tibet were being instigated. "Someone would announce when an act of self-immolation was to occur even before it was committed," Zhao said. "A camera would be there and the video would be quickly uploaded online. And no one would be allowed to rescue the protester."

Jia Qinglin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said, "The Dalai Lama's clique is vainly trying to encourage incidents in Tibet." He also said officials should take measures to prevent the Dalai Lama and his 'clique' from carrying out their plans to make Tibetan-inhabited areas unstable.

China Daily also reported that, "Evidence showed that the riots and assaults were planned beforehand and instigated by trained separatists, according to the Sichuan government's information office."

3. Monks continue to protest

On 22 February, despite heighented security, over 60 Tibetans protested in Kikor town, Serthar county, Kardze prefecture, Sichuan province. Initially a small group of monks, led by a senior monk from the local Sera monastery, gathered in public to hold a prayer session for the long life of the Dalai Lama. Tibetans joined them including some holding the banned Tibetan national flag and a banner with the names of those who had self-immolated. Though the protestors were closely monitored and photographed by Chinese security forces no arrests were made at the time and the protest ended peacefully after about 3 hours.

Tridu protest 8 Feb 2012In Qinghai province, a group of 25 monks from Zikar monastery have been detained for leading a protest march in Tridu county on 8 February (pictured). The march, protesting against Chinese rule, involved up to 1,400 Tibetans including 400 monks. The march was halted by Chinese security forces before reaching its destination.

The majority of the monks are reportedly being forced to undergo rigorous political re-education.
Four of the 25 monks have been taken away, presumably to be charged, though details are not yet clear. Zikar monastery has been placed under strict surveillance and the remaining monks are confined to the monastery.

Four monks were expelled from a monastery in the Tibet Autonomous Region in February for refusing to fly the Chinese flag. On 7 February Chinese officials arrived at Rawu Shulten monastery in Pashoe county, Chamdo prefecture and ordered the Chinese flag to be flown and photos of Chinese leaders to be displayed. After the monks objected to the order, the officials expelled four monks and warned that the monastery would be closed if such defiance continued.

4. Prominent Tibetans detained

As well as those involved in protests, the Chinese government continues to arrest influential Tibetans. In February, two Tibetan writers and one comedian were detained whilst another writer was sentenced.

On 3 February, Dawa Dorjee, a well-known writer and a popular advocate of Tibet's traditional culture and language, was arrested at Lhasa's Gongkar airport. Dawa was returning from a cultural conference in Chengdu. Though it is not clear for the reason of his detention, Dawa is the author of a book called 'Lahm' which discusses democracy, freedom and human rights.

Gangkye Drupba KyabPopular Tibetan writer Gangkye Drupba Kyab (pictured right) was detained on 15 February following a raid on his home in Serta county in Sichuan province. Gankye is the author of "Dhi Ring Ghi Mikchu" (which roughly translates as "Today's Tears"). The reason for Gangkye's detention is not clear.

The current condition and whereabouts of Dawa Dorjee and Gangkye Drupba Kyab are not known.

On 12 February, monk and author Norbu Tsering was sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Lhasa People's Intermediate Court. Though the exact charges and date of arrest are not known, Norbu is another well known Tibetan author and in 2008 wrote a book whose title translates as "If you have Oppression and Repression, Then I have Compassion and Truth".

ArtharIn early February a Tibetan comedian known for political satire was taken into custody by the Chinese authorities. Arthar (pictured right), 33, a general store owner and comedian, had planned to release a DVD which he told friends might lead to his arrest. After his detentention, Arthar's family members were told by police that he had been involved in "serious political matters".

In a video message recorded before his arrest, Arthar urged unity among Tibetans and called for strengthened Tibetan national identity and culture. There is no further news of Arthar's condition or whereabouts.

5. Hundreds of pilgrims face 're-education'

As the Chinese government intensified its rhetoric in the run-up to the 10 March anniversary (see above), there has been a new development in 'anti-Dalai Lama' campaign. Hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims who attended the Dalai Lama's teachings in Bodh Gaya, India in January have been detained upon their return to Tibet.

In previous years, there have been relatively few detentions of Tibetans returning from Dalai Lama teachings in India. However, with the current crackdown following the protests and self-immolations in eastern Tibet, it seems the authorities are intent on stopping any form of dissent from spreading to other areas. Up to 500 Tibetans are believed to have been detained and held in special camps where that are subject to 'political re-education'.

Further reading:

China Daily - Tibet immolations were instigated (3 March)
BBC - Tibet chief orders tight control ahead of congress (1 March)
BBC - Chinese official warns Tibetans against separatism (24 February)
RFA - Tibetan comedian detained (24 February)
RFA - Protests greets Losar in Sichuan (22 February)
ICT - Unprecedented detentions of hundreds of Tibetans (22 February)
TCHRD - Tibetan writers detained and sentenced (20 February)
RFA - Monks expeled over Chinese flag (14 February)

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