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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

7 Tibetan village leaders arrested in Zoege County

July 6, 2010

By Kalsang Rinchen
July 5, 2010

Dharamsala, July 5 -- Chinese authorities in
Zoege County, Sichuan Province, have arrested
seven Tibetans on June 27 after minor scuffle
among Tibetan residents stemming from argument
over encroachment of public road, a Tibetan
living here with contacts in the region said.

The arrested Tibetans, all elected leaders of
various divisions or villages in the locality,
are Choelho from Thama Dewa, Konlho from
Kyangtsai Goeru, Atam from Kyangtsei Kegyued,
Lhago from Chunag Drokra, Jigjhey Kyap from Zsaru
Toema, Lochey from Zsaru Medhma, Dorjee Tsering
from Rarong (all names spelled as pronounced).
The government officials at township level under
which the divisions or the villages fall were
removed from their posts and the head of the
department in the government office at the County
level in charge of political affairs has also been sacked.

Tsering, a Tibetan monk at Kirti monastery here
said some Tibetan residents living around
Tagtsang Lhamo Kirti monastery in Zoege County
had expanded their houses a few years ago by
encroaching public road leading to the monastery
causing inconvenience to vehicles’ passage. The
Monastery’s administration had then taken the
matter to the County authorities who had ignored
the matter and made no decision on the matter.

Recently, the encroachment had further increased
which prompted the monastery’s administration and
local leaders to engage in talks with the
concerned owners of the houses, Tsering said.
“Some residents refused to clear the public road
and talks gradually turned into quarrel, and a
few window panes were broken in a minor scuffle that followed.”

Tsering further said the County authorities took
advantage of the situation by giving it a
political turn, and accused monks and the local
leaders of holding illegal public gathering to
plot anti government activities. The atmosphere
is said to be tense as the authorities called in
more security forces form Luchu County and Zoege
County. ‘Patriotic reeducation meetings’ were
called in various divisions or villages forcing
the Tibetans to accept charges of political incitement, he said.

There is no information on the whereabouts of the seven Tibetans currently.
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