Barkhor Square, Lhasa
DHARAMSHALA, January 27: A Tibetan man was arrested for shouting free Tibet slogans and distributing leaflets at Barkhor Square, the heart of the Tibetan capital city Lhasa, Wednesday.
Namkha Gyaltsen, 25, was arrested shortly after he distributed leaflets calling for freedom in Tibet and urging Tibetans to rise up and revolt against Chinese rule over Tibet.
Speaking to Phayul, Ven. Ngawang Woebar, a former political prisoner said that Namkha Gyaltsen was severely beaten before being taken away by Chinese security personnel.
The current whereabouts of Namkha Gyaltsen is not known.
Following the protest, Lhasa has been placed under a strict security clampdown with monasteries in the region facing increased surveillance.
“Chinese soldiers are not only manning the streets but also performing military drills to intimidate local Tibetans against carrying out demonstrations," Ven. Woebar said.
In 2008, monks from the nearby monasteries led demonstrations in Lhasa, protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding freedom for Tibet. The protests quickly spread to other regions, leading to the massive uprisings of Tibetans from all over the Tibetan plateau.
Namkha Gyaltsen’s arrest has also been independently confirmed by the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
In a release today, TCHRD said that Namkha Gyaltsen was arrested at around 5 pm local time on January 25 near the Nang-tse-shak building at Barkhor.
Namkha Gyaltsen was born in Golok, eastern Tibet, the region which witnessed the self-immolation of a revered reincarnate lama Sopa Tulku Sonam Wangyal on January 8. Following the self-immolation, local Tibetans carried out widespread demonstrations in the region.
Sopa Tulku set himself on fire in front of the police station in Darlag county in Golog after shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom and the long life of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
In leaflets that Sonam Wangyal distributed just before he set himself ablaze, he stated his fiery sacrifice was not for his “personal glory but for Tibet and the happiness of Tibetans."
"The Tibetans should not lose their determination. The day of happiness will come for sure. For the Dalai Lama to live long, the Tibetans should not lose track of their path," Sonam Wangyal said in his last statement.
Following the fiery wave of self-immolations that has seen 16 Tibetans set themselves on fire since March 2011, at least a dozen Tibetans are feared to have been killed in Chinese police firings in three separate incidents in Serthar, Ngaba and Drongo region of Tibet, this week.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay on Thursday in a video message urged Tibetans and Tibet supporters all over the world to take part in a global vigil on Wednesday, February 8.
“Let’s send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that violence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable!” Dr Sangay said.