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Tibet reeling under tense situation- Nuns of Chutsang Nunnery join the protest
TCHRD[Friday, March 14, 2008 15:00]
For Immediate Release

In the past few days, since the 10th March Commemoration of the People's Uprising Movement of Tibet, although information is hard to come by, a few confirmed accounts are trickling out about protests, arrests, detentions and restrictions all around Tibet amidst severe control of information flow. Tibet is said to be increasingly reeling under a tense situation following a recent spate of peaceful protests by monks of three main monasteries in Lhasa that have now rippled across eastern and far north eastern Tibetan areas of Amdo and Kham. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has received numerous confirmed reports concerning the recent spate of protests, subsequent arrests and detentions of people having taken place inside Tibet and have compiled a list of protests and subsequent arrests in chronological order as follows:

Drepung Monastery- 10 March

According to sources within Tibet, on the evening of 10 March, about three hundred monks from Drepung Monastery, located on the outskirts of the capital, attempted to start a planned peaceful protest march towards Barkhor Street, Lhasa. However, they were obstructed from proceeding with their peaceful march by a large number of Chinese armed police before reaching Lhasa. A few monks from the group suspected to be the ringleaders were believed to be arrested by Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials.

The situation in Drepung Monastery, where around 300 monks staged a peaceful demonstration on 10 March, is known to be very tense with authorities deploying additional People's Armed Police(PAP) forces into the area. There has been a similar deployment of armed forces including plain clothed police and agents reportedly present in and around Barkhor Street in Lhasa to deal with any protests.

Sera Monastery - 10 & 11 March

In a similar incident, a group of around fifteen monks, later joined by two laypersons led a peaceful pro-Tibet march from Tsuklakhang Temple, proclaiming pro-independence slogans, distributing pamphlets and raising the banned Tibetan national flags at Barkhor Street in Lhasa. They were arrested immediately by the stationed Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials following a brief protest march on Barkhor Street - one of the busiest market areas around the city. The arrested Tibetans were reportedly beaten severely and manhandled by the PSB officials. Moreover, the shops and vendors around Barkhor Street were ordered to close and pack up. The detained monks were confirmed to be visiting student monks of Sera Monastery, mainly from the Kham and Amdo regions of Tibet. Additional contingents of armed forces were deployed to the area to issue an explicit warning to people against undertaking further protests as well as to control and monitor the activities of the people.

On 11 March, about 2000 strong Chinese troop fired tear gas in order to disperse hundreds of monks from Sera Monastery who were calling for the release of their fellow monks and shouting pro-Tibet slogans. The situation in Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery are known to be very tense at the moment with People's Armed Police forces sealing off the monasteries thereby completely curbing the people's movement in and out of the area, including protesting laypeople from visiting these monasteries.

TCHRD has obtained pictures and identities of the 15 monks who staged a peaceful protest in Barkhor street in Lhasa on 10 March 2008. It has come to light that the 15 monks were joined by two Khampa laypersons during the protest and their identities and origin have not been ascertained at the moment. Most of the monks were visiting students of Sera Monastery, Jatrel Khangtsen and were originally from the Kardze and Amdo region. The names, ages and origins of 15 arrested monks are as follows:
  1. Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, 26-years old, Lungkar Monastery, Golog "TAP" Qinghai Province
  2. Samten, 17-years old, Lungkar Monastery, Golog, "TAP" Qinghai Province
  3. Gelek Pel, 32-years old, Lungkar Monastery, Golog "TAP" Qinghai Province
  4. Lobsang, 15-years old, Onpo (Tib transliteration: dbon po) Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  5. Tsultrim Palden, 20-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  6. Lobsang Ngodup, 29-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  7. Lobsher, 20-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  8. Phurden, 22-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  9. Lobsang Thukjey, 19-years old. Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  10. Lodoe, 30-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  11. Thupdon, 24-years old, Onpo Monastery, Sershul County, Kardze "TAP"
  12. Soepa, 30-years old, Mangye (Tib transliteration: mang dge) Monastery,
  13. Tsegyam, 22-years old, Kashi (Tib transliteration: ka bshi) Monastery,
  14. Thupwang, 30-years old, Darthang (Tib transliteration: dar thang) Monastery,
  15. Pema Garwang, 30-years old, Darthang Monastery,
Currently there has been no information on the monks' whereabouts or their condition.

Lutsang Monastery, Mangra County, Tsolho "TAP"- 10 March

In yet another incident, a protest has also been reported from the traditional Tibetan area of Amdo in Mangra County, Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) 'Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture' ("TAP") Qinghai Province on 10 March. About 137 monks from Lutsang Monastery in Mangra County, Tsolho "TAP" and around 200 laypersons from the area were barred by the Mangra County People's Armed Police (PAP) forces when they converged outside the County Assembly Hall where a government sponsored show was going on. Sensing a protest by the Tibetans, the show was forced to discontinue. Later monks and laypeople started shouting slogans "Long live Dalai Lama" and "The Dalai Lama should return to Tibet". At the moment there is no report of Tibetans having been arrested from the area, although, the concerned authorities are known to be investigating those involved in the protest.

Jyekundo, "TAP" Qinghai - 9 & 10 March

On 9 March, hundreds of banned portraits of the Dalai Lama were confiscated from a number of homes in Jyekundo, (Ch: Yushu/Jiegu) "TAP", Qinghai Province during a midnight raid conducted by local Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials. Two families were reportedly fined 500 Yuan each for possessing the banned portraits. The next day, pamphlets calling for Tibet's independence were known to have been pasted on the walls around the area.

Ditsa Monastery, - 10 March

In one incident, around 20 local Chinese officials convened a meeting of monks at Ditsa Monastery, Bayan County, Haidong Prefecture, Qinghai Province. However, around 70 monks walked out of the meeting carrying the portrait of the Dalai Lama and shouted pro-independence slogans. Later the monks proceeded towards a small hill behind the monastery to offer Sangsol Prayer, and were later joined by onlookers. Open calls for solidarity with "the peace marcher from Dharamsala to Lhasa," initiated by leading exiled Tibetan NGOs, were even reportedly raised by the monks. A total of around four hundred people gathered for the prayer that day. No cases of arrest or detention of Tibetans are known from the area so far and there is no report of the Chinese sending additional police force to the area.

Labrang Tashikyil Monastery, Sangchu County, "TAP" - 10 March

Incidents of police removing pamphlets calling for Tibet's independence were reported from Labrang Tashikyil Monastery in Sangchu County, Kanlho "TAP" Gansu Province.

Kandze - 10 March

There are also reports of people having pasted pamphlets calling for Tibet's independence from Kandze County, Kandze "TAP" Sichuan Province on 10 March. So far there is no information on case of arrest or detention from the area.

Raid in former political prisoners' homes - 10 March

According to sources, on the evening of 10 March, sudden raids were being conducted in the homes of former political prisoners by the authorities looking particularly for any incriminating CDs such as the US Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama ceremony which have covertly been in circulation recently, or electronic goods particularly computers, phones and Internet connections.

Recall of government employees, Arrest and restriction in Tibet University

On 11 March, the authorities of Lhasa City have recalled all the employees of various government departments who were on leave to return to work immediately and issued a restraint order banning taking leave. Around five students of Tibet University were also confirmed to be arrested by the PSB officials on 13 March. Restrictions were also imposed on the movement of students, including Tibet University students in Lhasa, with authorities increasing the vigilance personnel and keeping a record of student movements at the main entrance gate of the University.

Chutsang Nunnery- 12 & 13 March

On the morning of 12 March, coinciding with the Tibetan Women's Uprising Day, around a hundred Tibetan nuns from Chutsang Nunnery in the west side of Lhasa marched towards Barkhor Street for a peaceful demonstration. However, they were blocked by Chinese People's Armed Police from moving forward and sent back to their monastery. There are no reports of arrest or detention after the march. However, on the morning of 13 March, the same group of nuns carried out their protest march towards Lhasa and have not yet returned to their monastery. On contacting the monastery, only a few senior nuns remain there.

Gaden Monastery- 12 March

Similarly, Gaden Monastery (about 50 Kms east of Lhasa City) in Takse County, remains sealed off and surrounded by People's Armed Police since yesterday afternoon, following the protest by monks on 12 March. Contact with the outside world is known to have been terminated at the moment.

Ramoche Temple - 14 March

Information coming out of Lhasa has confirmed that Ramoche Temple in the north side of Lhasa has been surrounded by People's Armed Police (PAP) following a peaceful protest led by monks of the temple in Lhasa this morning. Ramoche Temple and all roads leading toward the temple were cordoned off by a large number of PAP forces, restricting monks from moving outside. Just before dispatching this press release, the Centre received confirmed information from Tibet that, a scuffle broke out between PAP forces and the protesting monks and common people. The report of agitated protestors setting fire on a vehicle and shops also surfaced from Tibet but incident of death, injury and arrest could not be ascertained at the moment. The Centre will continue to monitor situation closely and will update.

Following protests by Tibetans in Lhasa, a meeting was convened among the concerned Department heads of surrounding districts adjoining Lhasa City, to restrict and control people's entry into the city. It is highly possible that security and movement of people may be tightened in an attempt to block the flow of information about protests to the outside world, and to prevent others from joining similar protests in the capital.

TCHRD expresses its deepest concerns at the recent series of arbitrary arrest and detention of Tibetans in Tibet for exercising their fundamental human rights in peaceful and non-violent means. The Centre calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Tibetans arrested and detained in the past days solely for having participated in peaceful demonstrations, during which opinions were expressed peacefully.

The Centre deems the cases as an outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly and urges China to uphold their obligations to respect the freedoms and basic human rights guaranteed under domestic law and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Centre will continue to monitor the situation inside Tibet and will report more updates as and when further information surfaces. Concurrently TCHRD will continue to highlight numerous human rights violations committed by the Chinese authorities in the name of maintaining stability and social order.

Contact person:
Tashi Choephel Jamatsang(English)
Jamphel Monlam (Tibetan and Chinese)

Phone Number: +91-1892-223363/225874/229225
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