Tibet: 1,000 arrested, hundreds "disappeared"
Days after the harsh crackdown on protests in Lhasa, Chinese authorities are now arresting hundreds of Tibetans elsewhere in Tibet and Tibetan regions of neighboring Gansu and Sichuan provinces. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reports that in addition to those detained in the riots, 24 have been arrested in Lhasa "on a basis of pre-trial detention." The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that 170 "rioters" in the city have surrendered to police following days of unrest "that killed 13 innocent civilians." While Chinese authorities say "leniency" will be applied to those who surrender, the TCHRD questions this, noting the experience of 1989. The TCHRD says over 1,000 have been arrested throughout the Tibetan region, with hundreds more "disappeared." Homes have been raided and ransacked, and monasteries generally remain under occupation by the security forces. (TCHRD, March 21; Xinhua, March 19)
Some 300 activists from the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) in India's northeast India have started on a peace march from Siliguri in West Bengal to Nathula Border in Sikkim, in an attempt to join the protest movement in Tibet. The marchers are planning to cover some 170 kilometers in eight days before reaching Nathula, a border post sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War and re-opened in 2006 following bilateral agreements. However, the Sikkim regional government has already announced plans to stop the march from entering the territory. The marchers plan to arrive in Sikkim on March 24.
The TYC is pressing three demands:
1. To put pressure on the Chinese government to immediately stop violent crackdowns on Tibetan protesters in Tibet.
2. To urge for investigation by the UN into the brutal killings, detention, torture and arrests in Tibet since the protest started on March 10.
3. To boycott the Beijing Olympics as China has failed to improve its human rights record.
(Phayul, March 20)
See our last post on the Tibet crisis.