Machu protest in 2008. (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 22: A Tibetan nomad was arrested in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) County of Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan), eastern Tibet for “spear-heading” protests in the Machu region during the 2008 pan-Tibet peaceful uprisings.
According to the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Shonu Palden, 34, was arrested on June 18 from a local restaurant in Belpen Township of Machu.
“On June 18, security personnel arrived abruptly to the restaurant in four police vehicles to arrest Shonu Palden and took him away,” TCHRD quoted sources as saying.
Following his arrest, a group of local Tibetans approached the local Chinese authorities to inquire about Shonu's arrest on June 20.
“The officials told them that Shonu Palden was arrested as he is suspected of spear-heading protests in Machu County in 2008,” TCHRD said. “The officials made the Tibetans to return after telling them that Shonu Palden will remain in detention for a month for interrogation, after which decisions will be made.”
During the 2008 uprisings, Tibetans in Machu had staged protests for three days.
Phayul had then reported that at least 12 Tibetans were killed and some 200 Tibetans were severely injured when Chinese police opened fire after more than 2000 Tibetans took out a protest march calling for Tibet’s independence in the region on March 16, 2008.
More than 80 Tibetans were arrested during the demonstration.
Chinese authorities had issued orders for Shonu Palden's arrest in 2008 but he managed to escape, hiding in remote and hilly areas for many months.
“In December 2011, the authorities issued a last warning to Shonu Palden telling him to voluntarily turn himself in, an act for which his punishments would be lessened, but he refused,” TCHRD said.
Tashi Gyatso, Shonu Palden's elder brother, was earlier detained on April 8, 2010 by public security officials on suspicion of "accessing and sharing banned Tibetan content on the internet.”
Shonu belongs to a nomadic family from Rongkor village, Belpen, Machu, and is father of two young children, the younger only a few months old.