Tibetan Monks March on Police Station to Demand Friend’s Release

2013-10-14
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Tibetan monks outside the Palyul police station demanding the release of monk Kelsang Chodar, Oct 12, 2013.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Hundreds of Tibetan monks marched to a police station in western China’s Sichuan province at the weekend to demand the release of a colleague detained for spreading word of a fatal police crackdown last week in a neighboring region, sources said.

Kelsang Chodar, a monk of the Palyul monastery in Palyul (in Chinese, Baiyu) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was taken into custody by local police at around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, local sources told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“Around 400 monks from Palyul then walked to the local police station to demand the release of the detained monk,” one source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chodar, a native of Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture’s Sog (Suo) county in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region, was detained “on suspicion he had spread information on the protests in [Nagchu’s] Driru county,” the source said.

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Tibetan monk Kelsang Chodar in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.)

Chinese security forces last week shot dead four Tibetan villagers and wounded 50 others in Driru in a continuing crackdown on protests opposing a government campaign of forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state.

The shooting deaths were the first reported fatalities since authorities in Driru began a crackdown last month on Tibetans protesting orders to the Chinese flag from their homes.

No word has been received on Chodar’s present whereabouts or on any police action taken against the Palyul monks demanding his release.

Twin detentions

Chinese police in Driru meanwhile detained a Tibetan writer and a friend at the weekend on suspicion of supporting community protests, according to sources in the region and in exile.

Tsultrim Gyaltsen, 27, was detained at around 1:00 a.m. on Oct. 11, with his friend Yugyal, a former police officer, picked up the next day, sources said.

Taken into custody at Kardrong village in Driru’s Shamchu township, Gyaltsen “was accused of committing ‘separatist’ actions and speaking ‘recklessly’ when school students and Tibetan residents of Mowa and Monchen villages staged hunger strikes against the actions of authorities in Driru,” one source said.

“Police searched his residence and took away computers, books, and mobile phones.”

Gyaltsen, a former Palyul monk who became a layman in 2009, had also studied for four years at the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, in China’s Gansu province, sources said.

Expelled from the university for holding debates on “illegal” subjects, Gyaltsen later wrote from his home under the pseudonym Shogdril, “Morning Bell,” the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said in a statement on Monday.

“In June 2013, a month after his expulsion from the university, Tsultrim Gyaltsen returned to his hometown in Driru and started a guesthouse called 'The New Generation,'" TCHRD said, adding that he also taught Tibetan and Chinese language classes.

Yugyal, a former Public Security Bureau officer, had resigned in 2012 because of the “political nature” of his job and had then started a small business to support himself and his family, TCHRD said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 122 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

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