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Child dies as protests sweep eastern Tibet PDF Print E-mail
[23 March 2012] Since the 10 March anniversary, a series of protests has taken place across eastern Tibet. Thousands of Tibetans, including monks, students and lay-people have taken to the streets to protest against Chinese government policies and call for the return of the Dalai Lama. In Ba county, Qinghai province, a 12 year-old Tibetan died after Chinese security forces dispersed protestors with "excessive force".

The protests have taken place despite a heavy crackdown by the Chinese government, which includes arbitrary arrests, restrictions on movement and an increased military presence across the region.

According to a report by the Voice of Tibet radio service, a Tibetan child was killed on 18 March in Ba county following the use of excessive and unprovoked force by Chinese security personnel (pictured right, protecting county government building) to disperse Tibetan protestors. Tear gas and explosives were fired upon the crowd who were demanding the release of 50 detained monks from Shingtri monastery. Dozens of protestors were injured and seven are believed to be in critical condition.

The monks from Shingtri monastery (also known as Ba Shangtre monastery) were detained following a protest in Ba (or Gepasumdo, Ch: Tongde) county, Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) prefecture, Qinghai province on 15 March. The protest involved up to 200 monks who marched through the streets waving the banned Tibetan flag and carrying banners and shouting slogans calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama.

Following the monks' detention, over 1,000 Tibetans gathered outside the local county office over the following three days demanding their release, until Chinese security forces finally intervened on 18 March. The monastery is now under military surveillance and the 50 monks are believed to still be in detention.
Further reading:
RFA (16 Mar) I RFA (19 Mar) I Phayul (22 Mar)

Other recent protests:

10 March: Lamu Dechen monastery
In the run-up to the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising, monks at Lamu Dechen monastery, located in Chentsa, Malho prefecture in Qinghai province, began preparations for a traditional prayer festival. The monks made butter sculptures of the Dalai Lama and of the banned Tibetan flag. On 10 March, at least 50 monks gathered to burn incense in front of the monastery as part of the ceremony (pictured right). After chanting for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom for Tibetans, they began to march towards Chentsa town. It is understood the monks stopped the march at the request of locals who feared reprisals. Security personnel arrived at the monastery on the same day. The current situation at the monastery is not known.
Further reading: ICT

14 March: Rebkong students
Several thousand students took part in a march in Tsekhog (Ch: Zeku), Malho prefecture in Qinghai province on 14 March (pictured right). The students were calling for freedom to speak their own language, equality of nationalities, and an end to the increased military presence in Tibet. The march began with several hundred students from local schools in Tsekhog and, according to sources quoted by Radio Free Asia, were later joined by more 2,500 students from Rebkong and Tsekhog counties. The students protested outside the county government office, the county police station and a local army office. Though security forces arrived no arrests were reported. On the same day a further 100 students protested in Kangtsa county but were forced back to their schools by police.
Further reading: RFA I ICT

18 March; Tsang monastery and Malho town
Several thousand Tibetans, led by a group of monks from Tsang monastery, protested in the streets of Malho town in Qinghai province on 18 March. Prior  to the protest Tsang monks distributed leaflets and posters publicising the march and their demands. The leaflets stated that if anyone attempted to stop the march, Tibetans would commit self-immolations. The demands included: the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet; religious, cultural and language freedoms; and the release of Tibetan political prisoners including the Panchen Lama.

During the march demonstrators shouted slogans calling for freedom and for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet. Radio Free Asia quoted one source as saying the number of protestors swelled to 4,000. After an hour, Chinese security forces arrived and arrested 17 monks on suspicion of instigating the protest. The demonstrators marched to the police station, broke through the gates and demanded the monks be released (pictured right). Following discussion with another group of Tsang monks, who arrived after hearing of the initial arrests, the 17 were freed. However, fears remain they will be re-arrested. The town is now under a heavy military lockdown and Tsang monastery surrounded by security forces.
Further reading: RFA I ICT

20 March: Bora monastery

About 100 monks from Bora monastery in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Gansu province marched in protest against the Chinese regime on 20 March. The monks demanded religious freedom, the right to use their own language and human rights for Tibetans. The monks carried banned Tibet flags during the march. Following the demonstration the monastery was surrounded by armed forces. The following day 40 Bora monks were arrested. They were released a few hours later by the authorities following a protest by fellow monks.
Further reading:
RFA I Phayul

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