By Tenzin Dharpo
An undated photo of Tibetan protester Sonam Tashi. Photo-RFA
DHARAMSHALA, FEB. 17: A 20 year old Tibetan man who was detained early last month for carrying out a solo protest in Serthar County (Chi. Seda), Sichuan Province in Eastern Tibet is still held incommunicado after 43 days, sources say.
Switzerland based former Tibetan political prisoner Golog Jigme, cited by Radio Free Asia
, said that a Tibetan man named Sonam Tashi was detained by Chinese police in Kham Serthar on Jan. 5 after carrying out a lone protest in the county town.
He said, “As he marched, he threw leaflets in the air and called out for freedom for Tibet and the long life of (exiled spiritual leader) the Dalai Lama. Chinese police quickly overpowered him and took him away. He has been held incommunicado ever since.”
Jigme further said that the delay in the news is due to the “atmosphere of heightened security”, where “local Tibetans’ movements are being closely watched” by authorities in the region.
“Family members have asked the relevant Chinese authorities about his present condition and whereabouts, but no details have been made available. Where he is being held remains unknown,” Golog Jigme added.
Solo protests are seen by experts as an increasingly viable means to protest against Chinese rule and the policies implemented inside Tibet. Due to the criminalization of self-immolations by Chinese law and the harsh punishments including imprisonment meted out to family members by Chinese authorities, more and more incidences of solo protests are emerging from inside Tibet.
Observers also believe that the Chinese government’s restriction on the assembly of Tibetans, solo protests emerge adding spontaneity to their actions without the need for premeditated planning among protestors.