Rungyal Adrak, aged 52, from Yonru Khashi Village, Ponkhog in Lithang in eastern Tibet, was arrested on August 1 by Chinese authorities in Sichuan after whipping up the crowd to shout in support of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s independence. Mr Adrak’s openly spoke up about Tibetan political and religious aspirations during the opening official function of the popular Lithang Horse Racing festival which is held every first week of August. (Phayul.com)
If he had not spoken up, the news would not have been made, but the suppression would have continued silently, the pain in the heart of every individual would have remained buried deep in the hearts and never spoken about, and everything would have been “normal”.
Lithang Rongye Adak, a deeply religious man at 53, broke the silence by speaking the truth, the truth that remained suppressed in the hearts of his fellow countrymen. Rongye Adak is a father who besides running his nomadic family acts as a social worker in his local community in Yunru Kha-shul area in Lithang, eastern Tibet.
Tibet, the country that has been invaded, occupied and colonized by China is today being ruled by a military regime and a set of law that dictates upon the native people the orders of the colonial Government of Han Chinese majority from Beijing. The sophistication of governance and the interpretation of it are such that the country is now being transformed from a land of virgin pastures and untouched fresh water and glaciers into a hugely urbanized and industrial area with rampant mining, damming and deforestation. Networks of roads and bridges built are now crisscrossing the country destroying traditional lives of the Tibetans, and all these are done in the name of “development”.
It happened recently on the 1st August, in Lithang where the annual horse racing festival had started and thousands of Tibetans had gathered from all over Kham region to witness the traditional Tibetan festival. As the government officials sat in chairs in a big ceremony, Rongye Adak, a tall sturdy man from Khampa Lithang stepped on to the stage paying his respects to the local Lama, grabbed the mike and gave a surprise speech.
He began by asking fellow Tibetans to stop getting into petty fights among themselves for land and gathering yartsa gunbo, and asked all Tibetans to unite. And when he had the full attention of the crowd he asked whether they want His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. The audience that consisted mostly of nomads responded in unison that they all want their leader to return to Tibet. And everybody cheered, clapping and whistling.
Tibetan monks carry posters of Rungyal Adrak, calling him “Tibetan Hero”, on August 8, 2007 in New Delhi. The Tibetan youth Congress led Tibetan “Mass Movement” rally in the Indian Capital had an estimated 20,000 Tibetans taking part in it, making it the single largest rally ever by Tibetan exiles against China's occupation of Tibet and to highlight the plight of Tibetan people. (Phayul.com)
He went on to ask for the release of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the XI Panchen Lama who is in Chinese Government’s custody from 1995, ever since he was taken away at the age of six. The fire of truth raged and there is no stopping. He even demanded the release of Tulku Tenzin Delek who has been sentence for life for an alleged case of bomb blast in Sichuan.
And when the Chinese authorities sitting on the stage slowly realized what Adak was saying, Adak had already made his speech. The police grabbed him and took him away. This provoked the audience who was already agitated and moved by the powerful speech by their new found hero.
A strong crowd of six to seven thousand Tibetans demanded that Adak be released immediately. And when police reached for guns, hundreds of nomads took off their shirts and showing their bare chest challenged the police to shoot them. They said what Adak did was only an expression of dissatisfaction which the Chinese law permits as right to free expression.
The stand-off with the police authorities has been going on ever since the incident of 1st August. As the news of Adak’s courageous act of speaking up spread to other villages and towns, more and more people started pouring in to show their support. The police in Lithang are now barring people from traveling in order to control public mobility. Tension is only growing as more and more people are heading towards one destination.
The soft-spoken man, a father of eleven children who lived a simple nomadic life has suddenly become a political prisoner. With his wife taking ill and being hospitalized, his family is suffering. Three of his children are presently studying in different schools and monasteries in India.
This is an appeal to you to spread the message of freedom and justice and also to ask you to appeal to Chinese Government to release Lithang Adak immediately and unconditionally. We also request you to ask your Government and the United Nations to help.
Rongye Jamyang, son of Rongye Adak
Atuk Tseten, nephew of Rongye Adak
Drepung Gomang Monastery,
Mundgod, South India