Tibetan Monk Detained After Disrupting Government Celebration

2013-07-02
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Chinese flags fly at a monastery in Chamdo in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Chinese authorities in Tibet have detained a young monk after he disrupted official celebrations of Chinese Communist Party rule by shouting slogans calling for Tibetan independence, according to sources in the region and in exile.

Lobsang Gendun, aged about 20, staged his solitary protest in a public area early Monday in Pashoe (in Chinese, Basu) county in the Chamdo prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, an area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

The celebrations included “songs and dances, including military songs” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“[Gendun] raised slogans calling for the long life of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama and for the complete independence of Tibet. But because of the songs and the noise of the crowd it was difficult at first to hear what he was shouting.”

“He called out for about five minutes, and then was overpowered by the police and removed from the scene,” the source said.

Shortly after Gendun was taken away, a Chinese police force arrived at the nearby Drongsar monastery, to which the monk belonged, “but it is difficult to know what kind of restrictive actions may have been taken there,” the source said.

Gendun is a native of Gorok village in Pashoe county’s Tridrak township, RFA’s source said, adding that the detained monk’s mother’s name is Padzom and his father’s name is Kalsang.

Separately, a Tibetan monk in southern India confirmed Gendun’s protest and detention, citing contacts in Pashoe.

“Lobsang Gendun did protest … and was detained by the police,” said Tenpa, a native of Pashoe county now living in India’s Sera monastery.

“However, I could not get detailed information about any security clampdown in Pashoe following the incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Chinese campaign to identify and monitor the political views of Tibetan villagers has been particularly intrusive in Chamdo prefecture, according to Tibetan sources.

Tibetan families in Chamdo’s farming and nomadic communities must display photographs of top Chinese leaders, with a ceremonial white scarf—a symbol of respect—draped around the photos, said Tibetan poet and blogger Woeser, citing information gathered from travelers to the area.

“If they refuse, this will be treated as a ‘political error,’” Woeser said.

Monasteries in Chamdo have also been forced to fly the Chinese national flag, Woeser said, adding, “Even individual monks must raise the flag on their private homes.”

Reported by Soepa Gyatso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.