Dalai Lama Slogan Triggers Campaign

Authorities in Tibet launch a 'reeducation' campaign in schools and detain Tibetans who show support for the Dalai Lama.
2012-04-22
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The Dalai Lama greets the audience ahead of his talk on "Peace of Mind in Troubled Times" in Long Beach, California, April 21, 2012.
AFP

Updated at 9:30 a.m. EST on 2012-04-23

Chinese authorities have launched a reeducation campaign in a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region after a middle school Tibetan student wrote "Long Live the Dalai Lama" on her class blackboard, according to residents.

They also detained nearly a dozen Tibetans in the region for having mobile phones containing Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's photos, or songs about him, an official document obtained by RFA showed.

“Sometime last week, a female student of a middle school in Markham [in Chinese, Mangkang] county wrote on a class blackboard, 'Long Live the Dalai Lama,'" triggering a "reeducation" campaign in all schools by a big team of county officials, a resident told RFA.

In the campaign, led by Bao Luo, county secretary for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the officials gave a series of talks to the students and school staff, accusing the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile in India of "advocating separatism and using religion to deceive Tibetan Buddhists," the resident said.

The schools were told that the Dalai Lama's actions were the "main reason for the instability in Tibet" and were aimed at  "dislodging the security of China by inciting reactionary campaigns" and "creating chaos."

"We had to launch this campaign to cleanse students and staff of the wrong influence of the Dalai clique, so that the students can grow up with a healthy and stable mind to [adhere] to the [directives of the] Chinese Communist Party," the resident quoted an official as saying.

Mobile phones

Meanwhile, an official document dated April 6 and sent to RFA from inside Tibet reported a push in March to detain Tibetans with mobile phones containing the Dalai Lama's photos or songs about him.

The office that produced the document was the "Brigade to Crack Down on Organized Crime,"  part of the Public Security Bureau office for Tibet's capital Lhasa.

It identified 11 people as having been detained last month, including Migmar Kelsang, 44, for  having a mobile phone with a video clip of a song praising the Dalai Lama and Alo, 28, for having photos of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa, another senior Tibetan Buddhist figure, and a map of Tibet on his mobile phone.

Alo was detected while sending those images to others, according to the document.

On March 9, Lhakpa, a Tibetan lady whose age was not given, was detained when her mobile phone was found to contain a song praising the Dalai Lama, it said. She explained that the song was downloaded when she bought the phone in 2009.

The document said that several young Tibetans in their teens or 20s were also detained in March, identifying them as Jamyang Tashi, Choedzom, Phurba Gyal, Tsering Jigmey, Rabten, Pagyal, Tsering Sonam and Thubten Tsomo.  All had images of the Dalai Lama or songs about him on their mobile phones, it said.

Self-immolations

Beijing has attacked the Dalai Lama in recent months over a wave of self-immolation protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated provinces, accusing him of orchestrating the burnings to destablize the region.

Thirty-five Tibetans have burned themselves since February 2009 to back demands for an end to Chinese rule and for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Twenty-seven of them have died of severe burns.

The burnings have triggered street protests in the Tibetan-populated provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu as Tibetans question Chinese policies which they say are discriminatory and have robbed them of their rights.

Hundreds of monks have also been detained from monasteries since March last year and scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators jailed for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights, exile sources said.

The Dalai Lama last week blamed Beijing's "totalitarian" and "unrealistic" policies for the wave of self-immolations, saying the time has come for the Chinese authorities to take a serious approach to resolving the Tibetan problem.

Chinese authorities have labeled the self-immolators as terrorists, outcasts, criminals, and mentally ill people.

Reported by Lobsang Choephel for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai and Richard Finney.