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Two more Tibet protesters escape to India
Phayul[Tuesday, May 19, 2009 17:01]

Dharamsala, May 19: Two more Tibetans involved in last year’s protests against Chinese rule in Tibet have reached India after avoiding arrests for more than a year.

Monk Tsering Jigme, 24, (L), and Maday Gonpo, 41, after arriving in New Delhi, India (Photo: RFA)
Monk Tsering Jigme, 24, (L), and Maday Gonpo, 41, after arriving in New Delhi, India (Photo: RFA)
Maday Gonpo, 41, and Tsering Jigme, a 24-year old monk from Tsi Sung monastery in Kardze, arrived this week in the Indian capital New Delhi, adding to the number who have successfully fled the troubled region in recent weeks, RFA reported.

They were en route to Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama-led Tibetan Government-in-Exile in northern India.

Earlier this month, five monks, who staged protests against Chinese rule last year in Amdo Labrang, in Gansu Province, arrived in India after avoiding arrests in Tibet. They are currently in Dharamsala.

RFA said the latest two escapees had been sought by Chinese authorities for more than year, before fleeing into India.

It said the two men escaped separately after participating in a protests on March 18 in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Prefecture in Sichuan Province.

“As Tibetans in other regions rose up in protest, we also launched a protest on March 18 in Kardze calling for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” RFA quoted Gonpo, who helped lead the demonstration, as saying.

“We began our protest at Tachu Do in the center of Kardze town. After we had crossed two bridges, five police vehicles and two army vehicles arrived and attacked us. There were about 1,000 protesters, including about 15 who were leaders.”

“Of these, five were detained, while I and others managed to escape. Two of my friends were wounded by gunfire,” Gonpo said.

“There was no way I could go home, so I wandered from place to place, mainly in the hills of Nyagrong and other areas where nomads live. At times, I had nothing to eat for two to three days. I also fell ill with a fever,” he said.

Gonpo said he later became better acquainted with the nomads. They gave him food and let him use their horses to avoid arrest. Some of them even visited Kardze town to evaluate the situation there.

“But they told me that the Chinese there were cracking down on Tibetans by shooting at them, so there was no chance for me to go back,” Gonpo said.

On May 7, 2008, Gonpo said, Kardze police issued a notice calling for the arrest of Maday Gonpo and Tsering Jigme, along with three other Tibetans from the Kardze area, four Tibetans from Draggo (Ch: Luhuo) county, and 27 Tibetans from Serthar (Ch: Serta) county.

“A reward of 10,000 to 20,000 yuan was offered for anyone who could catch us,” he said.

“We heard that this was announced on television and that authorities also promised the award would be increased this year,” Gonpo added.

Traditionally, Kardze comes under Kham Province, one of the three provinces of Tibet. The region is known for its strong Tibetan identity and has been at the center of dissent for years. It saw some of the most aggressive protests last spring.

Much of Tibet has been closed to foreigners since peaceful demonstration last year in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, escalated into widespread anti-China unrest across the Tibetan plateau.

The unrest spread to the Tibetan regions in three other provinces outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) — Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai — and was the most sustained and widespread Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades.

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile says more than 200 Tibetans died and nearly 7,000 were detained in the subsequent region-wide crackdown by the Chinese Communist government.

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Also Read: A Record of the Tibetan Unrest: March 10—March 25
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