Latest Updates on Tibet Demonstrations 2008.03.25
As communication becomes more difficult with people living inside Tibet, cell phone conversations with family and friends overseas and second-hand accounts continue to describe China's crackdown on Tibetan protests. For security reasons, we do not identify some of our sources by name in order to protect them from retaliation.
'With just one phone call, we can finish you.’
In the Chabcha area of Amdo [Hainan/Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture], there is a small monastery called Atso. I am from this monastery.
On March 22, at around 11:15 a.m., the monks there began to protest. They put up Tibetan flags and gathered on the hilltop just behind the monastery, where they burned incense. They raised slogans like 'Freedom for Tibet!,' 'Long Live the Dalai Lama!,' and 'Release the Panchen Lama!'
There are about 100 monks in the monastery.
After these protests in the surroundings of the monastery, the monks all walked to the township center, not very far away. There, they pulled down the Chinese flag at the local government school and burned it. Then they returned to the monastery and continued their protest. Three trucks full of police then arrived, and the head of the police threatened the monks with 'serious consequences' if they continued their protest. He told them that 'with just one phone call, we can finish you.'
The monks shouted back that they can no longer bear Chinese repression and that they are ready to sacrifice their lives. The head lama and young Rinpoche of the monastery then calmed the monks down.So far there have been no incidents of detentions or shootings in the area.
Monk at Drepung monastery
So far there have been no incidents of detentions or shootings in the area.
The local population also gathered and tried to join the monks, but was blocked by the Chinese in two different locations.
--Monk at Drepung monastery in India, speaking with RFA's Tibetan service and citing his own sources in Tibet, March 24, 2008
No one has lost their life so far
On March 18, over 1,000 monks and local Tibetans protested in the area of Sangchu county [Gannan/Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture].
They marched to the county government center and raised the slogans 'Long Live the Dalai Lama!,' 'Freedom for Tibet!,' and 'Release the Panchen Lama!' They also called on the Chinese leadership to begin a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and demanded that the Dalai Lama be allowed to visit Tibet.
They then went to the local government school, pulled down the Chinese flag, and replaced it with the Tibetan flag. No security forces arrived on that day.
However, on March 21 at around 7:00 p.m., armed Chinese security forces arrived at the monastery and detained four monks and three laypeople.
Another four monks were detained at another monastery. Over 20 Tibetans were finally detained. They even detained some teenaged monks who were reading scriptures.
No one has lost their life so far … Some of those detained are Targyal (age 43), Choepel (age 42), Kalsang Tenzin (age 40), Jamyang (age 32), Sangye Gyatso (age 13), Tashi Gyatso (age 14), Kalsang Sonam (age 16), Kalsang Dondrub (age 17), Kalsang Tenzin (age 16), Choedrub (age 30), Damchoe (age 29). Those detained at the other monastery are Tenzin (age 27), Tenpa Gyatso (age 37), Zoepa (age unknown), and Kalsang Sherab (age 19).
--Monk at Drepung monastery in India, speaking with RFA's Tibetan service and citing his own sources in Tibet, March 23, 2008
Helicopters flying over Ngabathey are flying over the local monastery and the Tibetan areas and are frightening the local Tibetans …
Monk at Dharamsala, India
On March 23, Tibetans in the Amdo Ngaba [Aba/Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture] area saw helicopters hovering very low over them.
This could be intended to threaten the local Tibetans. In the past, there were no incidents of helicopters flying over Ngaba, but now they are flying over the local monastery and the Tibetan areas and are frightening the local Tibetans …
Two days ago, on March 21, local Chinese leaders entered Kirti monastery and conducted re-education sessions with the monks. While conducting these sessions, the officials did not insist on condemning the Dalai Lama. Instead, they tried to persuade the monks that what they had done [in earlier protests] was wrong and 'not helpful.'
Some local Tibetans and monks tried to bring food to the monks being held inside Kirti monastery, but security forces stopped them. The monks inside Kirti monastery are facing a severe shortage of food, and the main roads leading to the Ngaba county centers are blocked by the People's Armed Police. So both monks and laypeople are facing shortages of food, and if they become desperate they may rise again.
Chinese officials are trying to entice local Tibetans to inform on persons involved in the protests, saying that first informers will be rewarded with unlimited money, while second informers will receive 5,000 yuan, and so on.
Many ordinary Tibetans are being detained. On average, one member of each Tibetan family is being taken away for interrogation and detention. The Chinese officials are displaying photographs and asking people to identify the persons shown in them.
--Monk at Dharamsala, India, branch of Kirti monastery, speaking with RFA's Tibetan service and citing sources in Tibet, March 23, 2008
One person from each family is being taken away
Following the demonstration in the Penpo area [near Lhasa] on March 14 and 15, five monks were detained.
Later, over 3,000 Tibetans--monks from the Penpo Ganden Choekor monastery and other monasteries and nunneries as well as laypeople--joined the demonstrations and demanded the release of those who had been detained earlier.
A Tibetan youth was killed during the demonstration and crackdown, though the cause of his death is still unclear.
Now, Penpo Ganden Choekor monastery is surrounded by Chinese security forces. There were 90 monks there, and except for three elderly monks, all were detained and taken away. Altogether, 160 Tibetans are confirmed to have been detained. The total number could be much higher.
In fact, my source told me that one person from each family is being taken away. They were threatened with 'serious consequences' if they call or talk with outside contacts, so they are afraid to give detailed information.
--Exiled Tibetan, formerly from Penpo, speaking with RFA's Tibetan service and citing sources in Tibet, March 23, 2008