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Thousands of students protest in eastern Tibet PDF Print E-mail
[12 November 2012] Thousands of Tibetans took to the streets in the Rebkong region of eastern Tibet last week to peacefully protest against Chinese government oppression. The protests follow three self-immolations in Rebkong over five days and come as China's leaders meet in Beijing at the National Congress.

Rebkong protest 08 Nov 2012On 9 November, between 5,000 and 6,000 students protested in Rongwo town, Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Malho (Ch: Huangnan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Qinghai province). The students peacefully protested in front of Chinese government offices by shouting slogans and reciting traditional prayers. They called for the freedom of Tibet, for equality of nationalities, freedom of languages and for the return of the Dalai Lama. Some students are reported to have held up Tibetan language textbooks during the demonstration.

Rebkong protest 08 Nov 2012The students, from middle and high schools across the Rebkong region, marched through Rongwo town (pictured right, top) and gathered in Dolma Square in front of Rongwo monastery
(pictured left), where they were joined by monks and local Tibetans. The crowd continued to the recite prayers and chant slogans into the evening.

Armed forces and police were deployed, however, no reports of confrontations have emerged, though the situation was described as tense.

Also on 9 November, up to 1,000 Tibetan students from Qinghai Nationalities University in Xining (Qinghai province) assembled in the evening of 9 November to pray for those who have died protesting against the Chinese regime, according to a report from Radio Free Asia.

Rongwo protest 08 Nov 2012The previous day, thousands gathered in Rongwo town following the self-immolation of 18 year-old former monk Kalsang Jinpa. The crowd shouted slogans calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. Some Tibetans carried banned photos of the Dalai Lama during the protest (pictured right).

In a separate protest on 8 November, about 700 students demonstrated in Dowa township, Rebkong. Chinese flags were pulled down at a school and government office building. Security forces were sent to the scene in military vehicles but were apparently stopped by local Tibetans blocking the road.

Three self-immolations have taken place in Rebkong this month: Dorjee Lhundup, a farmer in his mid-20s, on 4 November; Tamdin Tso, a 23 year-old mother, on 7 November; and Kalsang Jinpa on 8 November.  All three Tibetans died following their protests. In 2010, Rebkong students initiated protests that spread across Tibetan regions, against Chinese government plans to restrict teaching in the Tibetan language.

Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I ICTPhayul
Video of Rebkong protest (9 Nov): VOA (with commentary in Tibetan)

Take Action Background to self-immolations

Tsolho marchUPDATE 13 November: Another protest has taken place in eastern Tibet. According to Phayul, about 20 Tibetans marched approximately 40km on 11 November in the Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) region of Amdo (now part of China's Qinghai province). The Tibetans (pictures right) carried a banner and called for freedom in Tibet and the long life of the Dalai Lama. The group was detained when they reached Thang-ghen town but were later released. Further reading: Phayul


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