Chinese authorities have detained four Tibetans, including two monks, and are tracking down 21 others in restive Sichuan province as they round up key protesters against Chinese rule, sources said Sunday.
The four were held on Friday and Saturday in the Phetsa township in Nyagrong (in Chinese, Xinlong) county under the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yeshi Sangpo, a native of Nyagrong residing in India, told RFA, quoting local residents.
Twenty-one more Tibetans are on a list of pending detentions following mass protests against Chinese rule in Nyagrong in February as well as for putting up pro-Tibetan independence posters and involvement in other political activities, Sangpo said.
“In the past few days, the authorities in Nyagrong are threatening the local Tibetan community about detaining Tibetan monks and laypersons who are suspected of involvement in anti-government protests and display of protest leaflets,” he said.
The protests were held in conjunction with the Tibetan New Year during which participants complained of lack of freedom and called for the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, and highlighted the rising number of Tibetan self-immolation deaths.
In the latest detentions, two monks, identified as Tashi Woeser and Tashi Phuntsok, and two others were held after police raided the Worpu monastery as well as houses of monks and laypeople in Phetsa township on Friday and Saturday nights, Sangpo said.
The two others were named as Soga and Guru Sangye.
“On March 23 night, Worpu monastery was under siege by Chinese police," Sangpo said.
The detentions came a week after seven Tibetan were sentenced to between eight and 12 years in jail for participating in January Nyagrong protests.
The seven were paraded in the town to deter others from protesting against Chinese rule, sources had said.
Sichuan is among three key Tibetan-populated provinces where tensions have risen recently following a wave of protests challenging Chinese rule and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.
There have been 30 Tibetan self-immolations in protest over Beijing's rule in Tibetan-populated areas, triggering ramped-up security across Gansu, Sichuan, and Qinghai provinces as well as in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Reported by Tenzin Wangyal for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.