By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, July 29: Chinese authorities in Driru County have issued a handbook titled “Two laws by People’s government of Driru County” (Driru Dzong Mimang Sishung gi Tenbeb Khag Ni) in June.
The book containing four chapters and 26 articles features new set of rules and punishments to avoid Tibetans from protesting against the Chinese government.
In the first chapter “Social cause” (Chi-yi Tsadhon), Tibetans are prohibited from participating in The Great Prayer Festival (Monalm Chenmo), spreading rumors, and monks and nuns from studying in monasteries and institutions outside the county. The new laws also state that the Tibetans must maintain harmony and stability in the county.
The handbook further threatens Tibetans with severe punishments including jail terms, six months of Legal Re-Education or two years ban from harvesting caterpillar fungus (Yartsa Gunbu) for offences including inciting separatism, sharing information with outsiders, organizing public talks and discussions, spreading rumors, singing songs in honor of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and circulating Dalai Lama’s talk and teachings.
It also threatens to arrest and sentence the family members of an individual who does not abide by the law.
Earlier this year, during the harvesting of the caterpillar fungus, around a hundred Tibetans were arrested and sentenced on various charges. Some of them were in detention for more than eight months while the whereabouts of some remain unknown.
Till now, three Tibetans from Driru have set themselves on fire protesting against China’s occupation of Tibet and its hard-line policies.
In July, Tenzin Lhundup, a senior Tibetan monk was arrested during a lecture on the “status of Tibetan language and nationality” (Tib. mi rigs dang skad yig ki gnas bab skor) to villagers of Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) Town[i] in the restive Driru (Ch: Biru) County in Khams in May. His current whereabouts and condition remains unknown.
Chinese authorities in Driru issued orders to the Tibetans to fly the Chinese national flag on their houses weeks before Chinese national day celebrations last year, leading to a standoff between Tibetans and security forces. Hundreds of Tibetans from various villages of Driru were arrested for defying the order since September last year.
In November 2013, Two Tibetan singers Gonpo Tenzin, 25 and Tsekar Thinlay, 22 were arrested for producing music albums that called for Tibetan unity and preservation of the Tibetan language in Driru.