Tibet repression continues

<em>Alak Khasutsang, disappeared</em>” title=”<em>Alak Khasutsang, disappeared</em>” class=”image thumbnail” height=”100″ width=”57″></a><span class=Alak Khasutsang, disappearedProtests against the Olympic torch continue to make global headlines. Some 100 protesters braved an overwhelming police presence of several hundred, as well as a large force of pro-Chinese counter-demonstrators, outside the local UN offices as the torch arrived in Bangkok April 19. (Bloomberg, April 19) Two days earlier, up to 180 Tibetan activists were arrested in protests as the torch arrived in New Delhi. Thousands of police and guards made the route virtually inaccessible to the public. Another 46 Tibetans were arrested in Mumbai as they tried to storm the Chinese consulate. (News.com.au, April 17) Ironically, as the torch spectacle grabs media attention, harsh repression continues in the Tibetan lands of the People’s Republic, with over a hundred new arrests, monks beaten and disappeared—and the world paying little note…

On April 17, as the torch arrived in New Delhi, over 100 Tibetans, including monks and lay people, were arrested at protests in Tongren county (Tibetan: Rebkong), in Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province. Protests began when 22 monks from Rong Gonchen Monastery staged a peaceful march calling for the release of three monks who had been arrested April 13 for participating in a march a month earlier, on March 15. Several monks were severely beaten when security forces broke up the new march. (Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy-TCHRD, April 17) The detained are being held incommunicado—including 80-year-old Alak Khasutsang, former leader of Rong Gonchen Monastery, who reportedly sustained a severe head injury and is said to be in critical condition. (TCHRD, April 18)

Chinese authorities in Dzoge county, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, indefinitely ordered closed the school run by Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery after students there participated in the March 15 protests. (TCHRD, April 17)

Local families are waiting for the return of the bodies of 14 Tibetans killed when Chinese security forces opened fire on protesters near Tongkhor Monastery in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province. The death toll is now said to be higher than the eight originally reported. (TCHRD, April 17)

See our last posts on China and Tibet.

  1. More protests as Olympic torch lands in Australia
    From Reuters, April 23:

    CANBERRA – Pro-Tibetan protesters beamed laser signs onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Wednesday reading “Don’t Torch Tibet” and “China, talk to the Dalai Lama”, as the Olympic torch arrived in Australia under tight security.

    A group of Tibetans who were on a hunger strike continued their 70 km (43 miles) march to Canberra to rally against the torch as it landed at an airforce base in the capital under security usually afforded visiting world leaders.

    Thousands of pro-Tibet supporters have promised to hold a peaceful rally during Thursday’s torch relay in Canberra, but thousands of Chinese students were also expected to rally to support China.

    Media reports said the Chinese embassy had hired 20 buses to bring supporters from Sydney and the southern city of Melbourne, an eight-hour drive from Canberra, to counter protesters.