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Over 30 Tibetans arrested after flag-raising protest PDF Print E-mail
[8 November 2012] A series of raids by the Chinese authorities in the Wonpo region of eastern Tibet has led to the arbitrary arrest of 24 monks and 10 laypeople. The raids follow a protest where a Chinese flag was pulled down and replaced with the Tibetan national flag.

Tibet flag in WonpoThe flag-raising protest (pictured right) took place on 7 September at a school in the Dzachukha Wonpo region of Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated in China's Sichuan province). Handwritten leaflets calling for Tibets freedom were also scattered in the vicinity. At the time no arrests were made, but Chinese officials vowed to investigate the incident.

Tibet flag in WonpoOn 15 October, five monks were arrested during a night raid on Wonpo monastery. Further arrests took place on 18, 19, 20 and 22 October bringing the overall total of monks arrested to 23. Five of those arrested are reported to be visiting monks from Kirti monastery in Ngaba who were studying Buddhist dialectics at Wonpo monastery. During the same period in October ten laypeople were also arbitrarily arrested. On 4 November, Munsel, a monk from Wonpo monastery was arrested on unknown charges after being summoned to a local security office.

Reasons for the arrests are not known but it is suspected to be in connection with the flag-raising protest. According to a source quoted by Phayul,  Chinese officials had forced monks from Wonpo monastery to write in Tibetan so that handwriting could be compared with leaflets found at the scene of the 7 September protest. The condition and whereabouts of those arrested is not known.

The same source also said the Chinese authorities have informed Tibetans living in Wonpo that political re-education sessions will be carried out in the region and warned them against any form of protest.

The Wonpo region remains under strict surveillance and the situation has been described as very tense.

Further reading: Phayul reports - 10 Sept I 19 Oct (1) I 19 Oct (2) I 22 Oct I 7 Nov

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