By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 21: Nearly 200 Tibetans have been arrested by the Chinese police following the latest self-immolation protest by 24-year-old Pema Gyaltsen last week in Nyarong in traditional Tibetan province of Kham (Ch: Sichuan), sources told RFA. “Nearly 200 Tibetans who attempted to support Gyaltsen in his protest by raising cries in solidarity were taken away,” a source said.
The source also added that the Police have confiscated the mobile phones of those who were detained. No information on their whereabouts has reached outside Tibet.
Gyaltsen, a farmer, self-immolated in Nyarong County in Kardze prefecture at around 4:00 p.m. (local time) on March 18 and his current condition and whereabouts are unclear. However, some unverified sources say that he is currently in a critical condition in a hospital in Kardze County. The family members have also requested the authorities to allow him to be transferred to Chengdu.
“His family asked the authorities to allow them to take him to Chengdu, but they refused because of concerns over custody issues,” the source said adding that he was alive on March 19, when he was taken to the hospital in Kardze.
According to another source, his family members were detained for a night and beaten after they approached the authorities for permission to visit.
Pema Gyaltsen’s self immolation makes it the second self immolation protest by a Tibetan in Nyagrong. Last year, 18-year-old Kalsang Wangdu, a monk of Retsokha Aryaling monastery, self-immolated in a protest near his monastery in Nyagrong.