Pamphlets calling for independence seen scattered in Derge
Phayul[Wednesday, March 25, 2009 15:51]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, March 25: Situation in a Tibetan town in Kardze in Sichuan Province is said to be tense after a large number of pamphlets calling for Tibet’s independence were seen scattered all over a main road of the town, a report on the official website of the Tibet’s Government in exile said.

Present situation in Dzogchen township in Derge (Ch:Dege) in Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) is ‘critical’ after Tibetan people living in the region distributed large number of Tibet independence leaflets on the eve of an important religious gathering on 22 March, the report cited sources in the region as describing.

A large number of local Tibetans and pilgrims gathered at Dzongchen Monastery to observe Phurchen, an important day to undertake religious activities, on 23 March, the report said.

On the eve of the gathering, leaflets calling for Tibet independence, along with copies of Lungta, a symbol of good luck, were seen scattered all over the main road leading to the monastery; the report said.

Following the incident a tense situation has been prevailing in the region, sources said.

In a separate incident in the morning of 22 March, a monk staged a lone protest shouting slogans "long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama" and “Tibet independence" in Lithang county (Ch:Litang) also in Kardze.

The monk was identified as 18-year-old Choekyong Tsering from Lithang Monastery.

He was later severely beaten up after getting nabbed by officials of the area's Public Security Bureau. He is presently lodged in Lithang county prison, the report said citing sources.

Traditionally, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) comes under Kham Province, one of the three provinces of Tibet. The region is known for its strong Tibetan identity and has been at the center of dissent for years. It saw some of the most aggressive protests last spring.

Anti-China unrest last year spread to the Tibetan regions in three other provinces outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) — Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai — and was the most sustained and widespread Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed March 10 revolt against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region that sent the revered Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile.

Last week, Dharamsala-based Tibetan centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that Tibetans in the Kardze region have led what it termed was, “Farming Boycott Movement” to challenge the “prevalent repressive policies being initiated and implemented by the Chinese authorities against the Tibetans.”

So far the centre reported arrest of four Tibetans in connection with what appears to be a civil disobedience movement.

Meanwhile, the center said Chinese authorities have issued a notice warning that "anyone who refuses to do farming will face arrest and their land officially confiscated."

At present, situation in Kardze region is said to be very tense as residents have shown no signs to give in to government warning, TCHRD said in a press release on Monday.

“Streets were filled with posters declaring their vow to boycott farming activities in the region,” TCHRD said citing sources.

According to TCHRD, many of the Tibetan youths in Kardze were arrested and detained by Chinese authorities after taking part in anti-China protests last year. “Even if people in Kardze wishes to till the lands, there is hardly any manpower left behind to do the farming work,” the centre said in a statement.