Troops from the paramilitary People’s Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) fired on hundreds of protesters led by Buddhist monks at Kardze in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China’s Sichuan province April 3, leaving eight dead. The protest began when monks of Tongkor Monastery in Zithang township, Kardze County, marched to demand the release of two monks arrested the previous day for defying China’s official “Patriotic Education” campaign, which requires monks to denounce the Dalai Lama, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). Scores of Tibetans were injured and arrested, the TCHRD said. China’s official Xinhua news agency reported one government official was seriously injured in what it called a riot.
AP, citing the London-based Free Tibet Campaign and the International Campaign for Tibet, said the two monks were detained after 3,000 paramilitary troops searched their monastery and found photographs of the Dalai Lama. The International Campaign for Tibet said the two monks—Tsultrim Tenzin, in his 70s, and Yeshe Nyima, a young man—were detained after they protested when officials threw pictures of the Dalai Lama and of the monastery’s exiled tulku, Tongkor Shabdrung, on the ground.
AP said: “Calls to local police and hospitals in the area were not answered Saturday or else officials said they had no information.” The agency added: “It was impossible to verify the information since Chinese authorities have banned foreign reporters from traveling to the region.” The TCHRD called the deaths “confirmed information.”
On Saturday, the TCHRD, based in India, also said two monks committed suicide last month in Sichuan’s Aba County in protest of government oppression. One monk, identified as Lobsang Jinpa from the Aba Kirti Monastery, reportedly killed himself March 27, leaving a signed note saying, “I do not want to live under Chinese oppression even for a minute.” On March 30 at the Aba Gomang Monastery, a 75-year-old monk named Legtsok reportedly took his life, telling his followers he “can’t bear the oppression anymore.” Aba County has been the scene of large protests involving hundreds of monks and supporters in recent weeks.
The official Tibet Daily newspaper reported April 5 that the government plans to step up its “Patriotic Education” campaign. “We should strengthen patriotic education so as to guide the masses of monks to continuously display the patriotic tradition and uphold the banner of patriotism,” the paper quoted Hao Peng, Tibet’s deputy Communist Party Chief.
Chinese authorities say 22 people were killed in the riots in the Tibet since mid-March. The Tibetan government-in-exile puts the toll at up to 140. TCHRD reports that Chinese authorities have arrested over 2,300 in the Tibet Autonomous Region and adjacent Tibetan areas over the past weeks, with sweeps continuing. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the violence, a charge the spiritual leader has repeatedly denied.
In India, police arrested 17 Tibetan exiles April 5 as they attempted to march from Ladakh into Tibet. The exiles were arrested for violating a law that prohibits entry into sensitive border areas. (AP, TCHRD, April 5; ICT, TCHRD, April 4)
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