By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 9: Four young Tibetan women have been arrested by the Chinese police for participating in anti-lockdown protests that spanned across China, according to various media reports. The four detained students were working in a hotel in the Jinniu district in Chengdu city before they were arrested. “Chinese police have arrested four Tibetan women, Zamkar, Dechen, Kalsang Dolma and Delha on December 5 for allegedly participating in a peaceful demonstration against the Zero Covid policy in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu,” one source told Tibet Post.
Zamkar, 26, hails from Serlong village in Dartsedo, Kalsang Dolma, 28, Dechen and Delha are also from Dartsedo County; all four women studied high school in the same area and then went to work in Chengdu city. Due to the tight restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities in Chengdu and other cities, the hotels were closed off and they were arrested on Monday for taking part in protests in the vicinity.
According to media reports, Chinese authorities have arrested peaceful protesters in universities and cities for demonstrations against the government across cities and provinces, including the arrest of a young Tibetan woman named Tsewang Lhamo from the Tibetan capital Lhasa, who is a student at the Nanjing Communication University in China. Slogans like “Xi Jinping, Step down!” and “Communist party, Step down!” were reported from various protests in East Turkestan, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Qinghai in Tibet and more.
In late October, footage of rare protests in Lhasa emerged online showing hundreds, comprising both Tibetans and Chinese, demonstrating against the unceasing lockdowns imposed by the Chinese government, two months before the mainstream protests took place in China. “[We] have been locked up for too long. And a lot of people in this community are people who have just come to work and earn money. If they could get that in mainland China, they wouldn’t have come here,” a man was heard speaking in Mandarin in a video captured in Lhasa.
The Dharamshala-based research group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in September said that five known deaths by means of suicide have taken place primarily due to the draconian measures adopted by the Chinese government under the Zero-Covid policy. It claimed that five Tibetans committed suicide in a span of three days from September 23 to 25, as a result from the lockdown policies.