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Public cover helps protesting monks evade arrest in Lithang

August 20, 2010

Tenzin Tsering
August 16, 2010

Dharamsala, Aug. 16 -- Police in Lithang County
are on the hunt for two Tibetan monks who,
despite their open protest at a busy market
place, escaped arrest Thursday. Radio Free Asia
reported the two monks made rounds of the town’s
market place carrying a picture of the exile
Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag.

Passersby have heard the monks shout "Long live
the Dalai Lama" as they walked from Trungtrung
Karmo market to the local vegetable market, a
source with contacts in the region told RFA.

"Due to heavy noise of motors and traffic in that
area, only the people around the market place
were able to hear the monks shout ‘Long Live the
Dalai Lama," the source was quoted as saying.

Police immediately arrived at the scene but
failed to arrest the two as local Tibetans
gathered there in large numbers gave cover to
them. The police could not identify or arrest the two.

The incident of protest comes in the wake of the
third anniversary of another Lithang man’s public
defiance in August 2007 at an annual horse racing
festival and his subsequent arrest. Rungye Adrak
grabbed the microphone and made a public speech
at a gathering on August 1, 2007 criticizing the
Chinese government and expressing loyalty to the Dalai Lama.

A video of the speech was made public earlier
this month by a Washington based advocacy group.
Lithang’s popular horse race festival which draws
thousands of people from nearby villages remains
banned by the Chinese authorities since then.

Adrak is serving eight years' imprisonment for
the act that was ruled as "inciting separation of
nationalities" by a Chinese court.

Chinese police have spread word asking the monks
to surrender, but so far no arrest has been made.

"The Chinese police, without making any public
announcement, are trying to spread the message
through word of mouth asking the monks to
surrender voluntarily," the source said adding,
"They say that if they voluntarily surrender
themselves, the future will be good."

Staff who answered the phone at the Lithang
police station confirmed the incident but refused
to give details, reported the RFA
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