Security forces in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have raided a village in a Tibetan-populated county, rounding up 15 young men suspected of calling for independence for Tibet, according to sources in the region.
All were believed to have put up posters and distributed leaflets in the area calling for Tibetan independence, sources said. One, a monk named Tragyal, had only recently been released after serving a three-year prison term.
The April 15 raid targeted Doda village in the Dzatoe township of Dege county in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture, a Tibetan resident of the area told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Around 300 Dege county police and paramilitary police surrounded the village, broke into Tibetans’ homes, and made the arrests,” the source said.
“An elderly Tibetan woman named Namsa Sangmo pleaded with the police to stop the raid, but they attacked her and broke her hand.”
The names of some of those detained include Yeshe Choegyal, Wangchen, Wangdu, Lobsang Tsewang, Yeshe Jungne, Tragyal, Tenzin Tsondru, Tengyal, Yonten, and Tenzin Tsering, the source said.
The names of the others taken into custody were not immediately available, and whether those who were seized were formally arrested and charged, or simply detained for investigation, was also unclear.
The source added that another 20 Tibetans had also recently been taken from Dzatoe.
“They were severely tortured for many days while they were detained, but were eventually released.”
Separately, a second source said that eight Tibetans had been taken into custody in a March 15 raid on nearby Rebpa village, also in Dzatoe township.
“Tibetans suspected of involvement in antigovernment activities were taken to the local township center, where they were subjected to extreme hardships including torture,” the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
Chinese authorities are now requiring residents from several villages in the township, including Doda and Gana, to attend meetings as part of a “re-education campaign,” the source said.
At the meetings, residents have been warned not to organize further protests, and are being told they will be shot if they persist, he said.
“Officials said that in the past, the police and paramilitary police were only required to detain people involved in political activities, but that the central government has now authorized them to shoot anyone involved in such actions.”
“They say that if the people have any grievances, they should appeal to the authorities for help instead of putting up protest posters,” the source said.
Sichuan has been the scene of most of the 33 Tibetan self-immolation protests that have taken place against Chinese rule.
These have resulted in a major security crackdown in the province and in other two Tibetan-populated provinces, Qinghai and Gansu, as well as in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Reported by Norbu Damdul for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.