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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Updates on Tibet

May 12, 2008

Radio Free Asia
May 5, 2008

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 events. For security
reasons, we do not identify some of our sources by name in order to
protect them from retaliation.
Armed paramilitary police are paraded by the truckload along the
streets of Lijiang, south of Shangrila on March 24, 2008 in southwest
China's Yunnan province. AFP

A Tibetan caller from India, citing his own sources in Tibet, May 5, 2008:

"Choedrub, from the Hongkor monastery in the Golog [in Chinese,
Guoluo] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was shot on April 28 by
Chinese security forces. He had been involved in earlier protests and
had gone into hiding. After he returned to his home to collect food
some time toward the end of April, Chinese police surrounded the
house and killed him. On May 4, we learned that Wangdrol, Choedrub's
mother, was also shot and had two bullet wounds. Both parents, a
sister, three brothers, and an incarnate Rinpoche from the same
family were detained."

"Only two younger members of the family are left behind. Choedrub's
father was shackled and brought to see the body of his son. Chinese
officials have declared that all the family's property will now be
seized by the government."

A Tibetan caller in Wisconsin, citing his own sources in Tibet, May 3, 2008:

"Konchog Dondrub, aged between 26 and 30, was recently detained in
Lhasa. He was from the town of Thayi in Markham county in the Chamdo
[in Chinese, Changdu] Prefecture [of the Tibet Autonomous Region]. He
was detained along with two other monks, named Tashi Gyaltsen and
Choedrub Norbu. Chinese officials had issued a wanted notice for
Konchog Dondrub in the local newspapers and on television, offering a
reward of 22,000 yuan to anyone providing information leading to his capture.

"[Konchog Dondrub] was suspected of being an active participant in
the March demonstrations and unrest in Lhasa, and had disappeared for
a long time. However, some time toward the end of April, he was
detained at the residence of two monks from the Gyuto school at
Ramoche monastery in Lhasa. Those two monks, who were also
detained,  were Tashi Gyaltsen and Choedrub Norbu. They will be
charged with the same crime as Konchog Dondrub because they sheltered him."

A Tibetan caller, a former Chinese government worker now living in
Europe and citing his own sources in Tibet, May 1, 2008:

"A second version of the Olympic torch, which can stay alight in high
altitudes, is going to be taken to the summit of Mount Everest. To
ensure security, three additional military companies [note: this may
refer either to regular PLA troops or to the paramilitary People's
Armed Police] were added to the two already stationed in the area of
the Dram Friendship Bridge … Another five to six companies have been
deployed between Shigatse and Dingri. Roughly, there is one soldier
for every 50 meters in this area. I also heard the security is really
tight in the Dingri area, where there are many Tibetans who have
retired from the Chinese army and the police and so on. These
restrictions are meant to stop any kind of protest when the Olympic
torch passes through Dingri. What is worse is that Chinese soldiers
are being allowed to enter the Nepalese side of Mount Everest because
of pressure from China."

"In Lhasa, the restrictions are the same as those that were imposed
during the Cultural Revolution. These began about a week ago. We have
to report any visitor to the Lhasa Municipal Committee. The
authorities also go from house to house and check for residence
permits. Only those Tibetans who were born and brought up in the
Lhasa area are entitled to these. Any Tibetan without a permit is
taken away and detained for no reason. Unfortunately, the Chinese do
not need these permits. These are all precautions to prevent any
untoward incidents when the Olympic torch is paraded in front of the
Potala Palace."

"If any Tibetan comes to Lhasa for business or trade, his host has to
vouch for his guest, providing details of all relations and contacts
and length of stay. No Tibetan [from outside Lhasa] is allowed to
remain there for more than ten days. No one is allowed to stay there
on pilgrimage, and all the holy sites are closed. I heard that they
are going to allow only one Tibetan from each family to witness the
Olympic torch ceremony in front of the Potala Palace."

"It was announced in Lhasa that the ceremony of relaying the Olympic
torch through Lhasa will be delayed for four to ten days. Weather
conditions in the Mount Everest area are the official reason, but I
have learned from a reliable source that real reason could be
incomplete preparations by the Chinese troops [note: it is unclear
here whether this refers to the regular army or to armed police]. To
cover the presence of such a large force in Tibet, Chinese troops are
being dressed in civilian uniforms with blue hats and red hats. The
Chinese are also worried about possible collusion between Uyghur
Muslims and Tibetans in the Ngari area in the northwest part of
Tibet. Several thousand regular army troops are deployed in Lhasa and
in other areas where the Olympic torch will be relayed. For two
consecutive nights, trains coming from China were loaded with armored
carriers and tanks, and the area just below Drepung monastery is
packed with soldiers. Tibetans who are Communist Party members are
being subjected to intense political education. Chinese security
officials disguised as government workers participate in these
classes, but their real job is to secretly monitor Tibetan officials
for their loyalty."

A caller from Kardze, April 23, 2008:

"On April 23 at around 1:00 p.m., two nuns protested in the Kardze
town center. Their names are Bumo Lhaga, age 32, and Sonam Dechen,
age 30, and they come from the Drakar nunnery in Kardze [in Chinese,
Ganzi] county [in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan
province]. They began by distributing hand-written flyers calling for
the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and saying that Tibet is
independent. Chinese security officers saw the flyers and began to
collect them, demanding to know who had distributed them."

"Then, the nuns were observed on a street corner shouting slogans
calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom for
Tibetans. They were quickly detained and taken away in a police
vehicle. Even while being taken away, they continued to shout. They
were taken to the Kardze detention center in the town, but no one
knows whether they will be held at that same place or taken somewhere
else. The nuns declared in their flyers that they were acting on
their own and that the Drakar nunnery was not involved in their protest."

An official at the Kardze Public Security Bureau Office:
"No nuns were arrested. I don't know."

"Around March 13 or 14, a group of 40 Tibetans from the Amdo Dzoege
Shamey area [in Sichuan province] were detained for no apparent
reason while they were in Lhasa during the unrest. They were not
involved in the protests, but they were detained for two days. All of
them had come to Lhasa to visit holy places. They were a group of 17
monks and 23 laypersons of all ages. The youngest was about seven,
and the oldest was in his 80's. While they were detained in Lhasa,
the Chinese police beat up one layman named Sonam Rinchen. Later, he
was taken away, and no one heard anything more about him. The
remaining 17 monks and 22 laypersons were taken to Chengdu, in
Sichuan, and detained there for almost a month. On April 10, the 22
laypeople from the group were released. The 17 monks remain under
detention. The laypeople who were released told many stories of
beatings and torture. They were fed on fruit and hot water."—Tibetan
monk in India, citing contacts in the Amdo Dzoege Shamey area in
Sichuan, April 11, 2008

  In Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, there is an Institute called the
Amdo Ngaba Buddhist School of Dialectics. On March 30, I heard that
many monks there were detained and taken away. Many ordinary Tibetans
were also detained in that area. In the same county, there is a
monastery called Amdo Ngaba Gomang. Sixteen monks were detained from
there alone. Many police came to that monastery and searched
everywhere, including the monks' quarters.

Amdo Atob monastery was also raided. Seventeen monks were detained
there and taken away, and no one knows where they were taken. Many
plainclothes officials and police also came to Tatsang Lama Kirti
monastery in Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo'ergai) county, detained 17
monks, and took them to a local detention center. Under current
restrictions of movement, both monks and ordinary Tibetans who need
medical attention are not receiving any treatment. Even before the
recent unrest, medical facilities were rare. Now, those who have been
injured in the crackdown are afraid to go for treatment. Shortages of
food are severe, and Tibetans are not allowed to move around to
procure their daily needs.

As of March 29, over 500 monks have been taken away from the Kirti
monastery in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba). Several hundred armed police
raided and searched the Kirti monastery, including the monks'
quarters. They found several photographs of the Dalai Lama which they
smashed and ground under their feet … Many ordinary Tibetans are also
being detained. About 30 lay Tibetans were put into a police truck
and paraded in the local town.
-- Tibetan source in India, speaking with RFA's Tibetan service and
citing his own sources in Tibet, March 31, 2008

After the announcement was made [that reporters could travel on
Thursday to Lhasa], we tried like mad to get more information from
the Foreign Ministry and the State Council's information office. They
said only a certain number of people could go, that there was only a
limited number of slots. None of the major television media outlets
were selected. The only exceptions were AP television, which only
provides video footage without actual reporting, and Al Jazeera
Arabic. Al Jazeera English was not invited. The selection was most
likely based on certain considerations … There was a protest today
[during the visit]. I think a second such tour may be difficult.
-- Journalist working in Beijing for a Western television station,
speaking with RFA's Mandarin service, March 27, 2008

On March 25, at the Trehor Draggo monastery [Ganzi/Kardze Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture], the monks were planning to rise up and
protest, but could not at first find anyone to lead them. Then,
during a special prayer session organized for those who had been
killed in the Chinese crackdown in the Kardze area, they decided to
go ahead with the protest.

About 300 monks came out wearing the full dress of ordained monks and
carrying pictures of the Dalai Lama, and marched peacefully toward
the Draggo county center, not far from the monastery. A group of
local police, mainly Tibetans, warned the monks to stop and return to
the monastery, but the monks booed them and shouted that they should
be ashamed to work for the Chinese government. The Tibetan policemen
then persuaded some Chinese policemen, who had raised their weapons,
to put down their guns.

So, under this pressure, the Tibetan police allowed the monks to move
toward the county center. There, the monks shouted slogans calling
for the long life of the Dalai Lama and demanding that he be allowed
to return to Tibet, demanding the release of the Panchen Lama, and
demanding that Tibetans be allowed religious freedom and human
rights. Other Tibetans joined them at the county center. Armed police
then arrived and tried to remove the monks, but the monks stayed in
groups holding on to each other and did not allow anyone to be taken away.

The monks then marched back to the monastery and continued their
protests. At one point, shots were fired, but the monks dodged the
bullets by lying flat on the ground and declared that they would not
respond with violence, though some of them damaged Chinese government
vehicles on the way back. The monastery has now been surrounded by
the People's Armed Police, and the monks have all been ordered to leave.

-- Tibetan sources in India, speaking to RFA reporters, March 26, 2008
'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.

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 Ngaba

they are flying over the local monastery and the Tibetan areas and
are frightening the local Tibetans …

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
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