News and Views on Tibet

Chinese officials release over 100 detainees, hold 3 in custody

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Stone memorial in Dza Wonpo (Photo/Tibet Watch)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 13: Chinese officials who had detained about 121 Tibetans in the last two months have reportedly released all except three Tibetans who still remain in custody after the mass arrests in Dza Wonpo. Local authorities released over 100 detainees between Sept. 23 to Sept. 27 after ordering them to strictly disengage from “illegal activities”, including language-centered classes and participation in language preservation groups on social media, according to a report.

The three monks are amongst the eight Tibetans who were arrested later on Sept. 3. The month-long detention put 121 Tibetans in prison, who were then reportedly subjected to torture and denied proper food, leaving many in poor health. The anonymous source also said that those Tibetans were also forced to undergo “political re-education” during their time in prison.

The program also directed detainees to undergo military training in the detention centers where they had to engage in heavy physical exercises. “Those who fail to perform the military drills were punished,” remarked the source. After the release, the authorities ordered the local Tibetans to follow the CCP core principles, refrain from possessing the exiled leader Dalai Lama’s photos, and to strictly avoid contacting Tibetans in exile.

“Further orders include the prohibition against creating groups promoting Tibetan language, culture, religion, and environment on social media, and closure of organizations and groups that ‘challenge the Party’s regulations’,” the report further added. The released prisoners were also told that in case of any violation of orders mentioned above, the culprits would have to deal with severe punishment.

According to the Dharamshala-based Tibet Watch, upon the release of the 117 detainees, a stone memorial built in the honour of Tibetan freedom fighters was found demolished. According to a source, several elected officials in 2020 had issued orders for it to be taken down, but it remained until September this year. Located in the vicinity of Dza Wonpo Monastery, Gaden Shedrub Dhargye Ling, the site was built in the remembrance of the many Tibetans who killed PLA soldiers during their invasion in 1959.

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