With military vehicles patrolling Lhasa and monasteries surrounded by troops following the biggest protests in Tibet since 1989, unrest is spreading to other cities with substantial Tibetan populations. Protests are reported at Lutsang monastery in Qinghai (known in Tibetan as Amdo), with hundreds of monks chanting slogans calling for return of their exiled leader, the Dalai Lama. According to the Free Tibet campaign, 100 monks from Myera monastery in Gansu also staged a protest. Scattered gunfire was reported around Lhasa March 13. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the protesters are “seeking to spark social turmoil.” He told a press conference: “This was carefully planned by the Dalai clique in a bid to separate Tibet and sabotage Tibetan people’s normal life of stability and harmony.” (The Guardian, March 13)
Two monks from Drepung monastery are said to be in critical condition after stabbing their wrists and chests in attempted acts of protest-suicide in Lhasa. The two monks are identified as Kalsang and Damchoe, both originally from Kirti monastery in Sichuan province. Both refused to be moved to hospital but were taken instead to the monastery clinic, sources told Radio Free Asia. Several monks at Sera monastery are said to be on hunger strike to demand a withdrawal of People’s Armed Police (PAP) troops from the monastery compound. Protests are also reported at Reting and Ganden monasteries, likewise near Lhasa. House-to-house searches for dissident monks are said to be underway in Lhasa’s ethnic-Tibetan districts. (Radio Free Asia, March 14)
Repression in India
100 Tibetan marchers arrested while on a protest March to Tibet were sentenced to 14 days in judicial custody after appearing before a magistrate in Dehra (Himachal Pradesh). The protesters refused to sign a bond saying that they will not participate in any further protest activities for the next six months. They are to be held under house arrest at Jwalamukhi, some 50 kilometers from Dharamsala. Indian police have set up checkpoints on the roads leaving Dharamsala, where the Tibetan exile government is based, and are reportedly checking all buses for any protesters trying to leave the area. Some buses have been turned around.
“We condemn this decision by the Indian authorities to treat these peaceful Tibetan marchers as criminals,” said Chime Youngdrung, President of the National Democratic Party of Tibet and member of the Organizing Commitee of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement. “The March to Tibet is a non-violent initiative meant to help end the suffering of the Tibetan people living under brutal Chinese occupation. All of the participants in this march remain committed to continuing their journey home. We demand their immediate and unconditional release and we call on the Indian authorities to guarantee their safe passage through Indian territory.”
The first to be detained was march organizer Tenzin Tsundue, who was carried away shouting “Bhoe Gyalo, Victory to Tibet!” The 100 Tibetan marchers then sat down on the road, linking arms and chanting prayers. Indian police carried each marcher away and loaded them into five police buses. The march was organized by the new Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement which has pledged a campaign of “direct action” to “bring about an end to China’s 60 years of illegal and brutal occupation of Tibet.” (TPUM, March 14)
All sources online at Phayul.com.