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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

17 Tibetans detained as party officials greet armed forces

November 11, 2013

By Vijyender Sharma

November 10, 2013 - Chinese authorities have detained 17 Tibetans in separate incidents following the outbreak of popular protests in (Ch: Biru) County, Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

According to information received last night by the Dharmshala based human rights organization, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), local authorities arbitrarily detained 15 Tibetans at Tengkhar Village in Shamchu Township in Diru County. Among them, three were women identified as Sarkyi, 49, Tsophen, 47, and Yangkyi, 25. Sarkyi is the mother of two sons: Lamsang 24, and Tsewang Lhakyap, 19, both of whom were also detained. Others detained in Tengkhar village are Tsering, 22, Tsering Phuntsok, 21, Tador (perhaps a shortened form of Tashi Dorjee), 21, Kundak, 17, Gabug, 41, Tsering Tenpa, 22, Thupchen, 27, Soeta, 25, Tsering Jangchup, 21, and Jigme Phuntsok, 23.

The detentions took place in the backdrop of ongoing political re-education campaigns and repeated petitioning by local Tibetans for the release of noted Tibetan writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen and his friend, Yugyal, who were arrested and subsequently disappeared between the 11 and 12 October 2013 in Tengkhar Village. Local Tibetans have approached Township and County authorities a number of times demanding information on the whereabouts and the unconditional release of both men whose had not been heard for the past 26 days.

Sources told TCHRD that local authorities have banned Tibetans from petitioning in large groups and that petitioning by more than five people would considered as a ‘political error’. Local Tibetans were ordered to submit their petitions in writing which they did a number of times but so far, local authorities have failed to respond.

On 3 November 2013, County and Township officials arrived at Tengkhar Village and ordered local Tibetans to attend a meeting where they were forced to participate in political education sessions. Sources said some Tibetans expressed their views on official policies, but these views were ignored.

 That same evening, Tsophen, Sarkyi and Yangkyi confronted the permanent party cadres stationed in Tengkhar Village and questioned them about the fate of writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen and his friend, Yugyal. Sources said the verbal confrontation with the party cadres was marked by emotional outbursts from the three Tibetan women who demanded the cadres to come clean on the whereabouts of the two disappeared Tibetan men. “They asked the cadres that if the Chinese government believed that they had violated the country’s laws, they should specify which constitutional provisions they had violated and to stop being secretive about the case. They also told the cadres that the government cannot arbitrarily arrest people without any shred of evidence to back their claims,” a source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD. But the women were promptly arrested after the cadres called in police to resolve the matter.

Around the same evening, a group of ten Tibetan men were arrested outside the office of the permanent cadres base in Tengkhar Village. It is not yet clear in what circumstances they were arrested but some sources say that at the time of arrest, they were discussing the meeting that was held that day to give political education to local Tibetans.

 The day after the arbitrary detentions of 13 Tibetans, on the morning of 4 November 2013, about a hundred armed police from Diru County reached Tengkhar village, with some of the armed police setting up tents near the Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween) river. Since then, locals in Tengkhar Village have been forbidden to venture out of their homes after dark as armed police continue to keep a strict watch their movements. No Tibetan is allowed after dark to visit temples or offer prayers at sacred rock cairns or to work in the grassland.

Two additional arrests have been reported by sources in Diru County. Kunchok Jinpa, a Tibetan man from Village no. 5 in Chaktse (Ch: Qiaze) Township has been missing less than a month after his arrest. Another man, Dhargyal, from Chaktse Township has been missing for the past two weeks. Both men had disappeared during protests against China’s compulsory flag-flying campaign in Diru County.

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