Updated at 11:00 a.m. EST on 2012-03-15
Authorities have warned Tibetans who participated in mass protests in China's northwestern Qinghai province to surrender or face “severe” punishment, and have expelled more than half of the Tibetan monks from a restive monastery in Tibet, sources said Tuesday.
Public notices written in Tibetan and Chinese have appeared in Nangchen (Nangqian, in Chinese) county in Qinghai province warning those who took part in protests in the county last month to hand themselves in to the police, the sources said.
The March 6 notice, a copy of which was shown to RFA, read, “You took part in an unusual protest on Feb. 8. Per this order, you are required to report to the police station to confess by no later than 10:00 a.m., March [date erased], 2012. Those who fail to turn themselves in will be dealt with severely.”
It did not say what punishment will be imposed on the protesters.
More than 1,000 Tibetans had protested at two venues in Nangchen county on that day under close watch by the Chinese security forces.
The protests came amid Tibetan self-immolations to oppose Chinese rule and to call for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
At the county stadium, about 1,000 laypeople in traditional dress chanted prayers and shouted slogans such as "Freedom for Tibet" and "Long Live the Dalai Lama," sources had told RFA.
The Tibetans had shouted "Kyi Hi Hi," a Tibetan battle cry in defiance, when armed security forces and policemen closed in, the sources said.
Several hundred Tibetans also gathered in the main monastery in Nangchen town on the same day, chanting and tossing traditional tsampa, or barley flour, into the air.
As Chinese authorities moved to nab the protesters in Qinghai province, reports emerged that 104 monks out of 200 monks in the Karma monastery in Chamdo county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) had been expelled, sources inside the region said.
Monks without proper identification staying at the Karma monastery have been expelled and returned to their places of origin, according to a recent internal communiqué issued by the monastery management committee, the sources said.
Per this order, they are now made to work as laymen on local farms, with local village committees being put in charge of the monks’ “reeducation,” they said.
Some monks and nuns had fled the Karma monastery in October last year after they were suspected by Chinese authorities of being involved in a bomb attack on a government building.
Under the latest order, the monks are not allowed to leave their areas without permission from several levels of local authority, the sources said.
The monks remaining at Karma monastery are being subjected to political reeducation and are being forced to display pictures of Chinese leaders in their living quarters, denounce the Dalai Lama and show their loyalty and gratitude to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
"Those who refuse are severely beaten. The public denunciation sessions are filmed by the monastery management committee," one source said.
The developments came amid tensions in the Tibetan-populated provinces and in the TAR area following a Chinese security clampdown and the detention of hundreds of monks since early last year. Twenty-seven Tibetans have self-immolated so far to protest Chinese rule.
Reported by Dorjee Damdul and Palden Gyal for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney and Parameswaran Ponnudurai.