News and Views on Tibet

Tibetans refuse to hoist Chinese flag, Driru tense as China cracks down on Tibetans

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DHARAMSALA October 3 – Chinese authorities in Driru county in eastern Tibet have tightened grip on Tibetans in several areas after Tibetans defied Chinese authorities’ order to raise the Chinese national flag atop their houses coinciding with the Chinese national day celebrations. Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan living here with contacts in the region said the situation is “tense” in Driru as Chinese government officials and security forces numbering around 18000 have arrived in Driru from Nagchu County and other areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region since September 10.

The authorities propagated that the Tibetans must love their motherland and hoist Chinese national flag on their houses, leading to a standoff between the government authorities and the locals, he said.

On September 28, Tibetans of Mowa village clashed with Chinese security forces after defiant Tibetans refused to raise the Chinese flag and threw them into a river, said Tharpa. Mowa village and Monchen village are currently surrounded by Chinese troops form all sides, added Tharpa.

Around 40 Tibetans from nearby villages of Taklhay, Bharo, Neshoe and Taring were arrested after they went to urge against use of force and violence on the Tibetans of Mowa village. “The Tibetans who were involved in anti China protests were threatened that they would be barred from using hospital facilities and their children would be expelled from their schools. They were even told they would not be permitted to pick caterpillar fungus (yartsa gunbu),” added Tharpa.

Around 1000 Tibetans including an 83-year-old Tibetan senior sat on a 24-hour hunger strike outside the Chinese government’s administrative compound to demand the release of the arrested Tibetans on September 28. The authorities released the 40 Tibetans after Deputy Party Secretary of TAR Wu Ying Jie and Nagchu County party secretary Dothog arrived later that day. Many of the Tibetans released had injury marks on their heads sustained from baton charge, the same source said.

The authorities have built 6 more check-posts around the area and a large military camp near Mowa village and a few smaller camps near Traring and Monchen villages.

The authorities are strictly monitoring all movements in and out of the area intercepting all communication lines; the source said adding that is therefore difficult to acquire the details about arrests and torture etc.
Some locals that the source knew compared the situation to that of the Cultural Revolution Days. “There are 7 to 10 soldiers in front of each household around the clock,” he said.

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