Chinese authorities in a restive Tibetan prefecture of Sichuan province have beaten and detained a young man who staged a solitary protest against Chinese rule and demanding the release of all political prisoners in Tibet, according to a source with contacts in the area.
Kelsang Tenzin, 22, was detained on July 4 after calling for the return of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader in front of the Kardze county offices in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
“He shouted for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and demanded release of all political prisoners in Tibet. He also threw small white leaflets into the air as he raised the slogans,” the source said, speaking to RFA on condition of anonymity.
“He was able to shout the slogans for 10 to 15 minutes.”
After that, a “large number” of armed Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene to lead him away.
“They detained him and severely beat him up and he was later taken to Public Security Office,” the source said.
Kelsang Tenzin, from the county’s Thinka subdivision, is being held at the Kardze county jail and his parents have not been allowed to visit him, the source said.
The one-man protest follows a similar demonstration in the same town less than two weeks earlier by a 17-year-old girl, Jigme Dolma, who attempted to march to the center of town while shouting slogans and calling for freedom for Tibet on June 24.
Police beat her as they took her away and relatives found her days later at a hospital with broken bones.
Also in June, police detained a monk, Karma Rabten, who staged a solitary protest in front of government offices in Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture in June. Authorities tightened restrictions in his monastery following the incident.
Another monk, Samdrub Gyatso, was handed a five-year sentence for his lone demonstration in front of Lhasa’s central Jokhang Temple in May 2010.
Tibetans have also been turning to self-immolations in defiance against Beijing’s policies.
At least 42 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese rule since February 2009, mostly in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu.
Sichuan’s restive Kardze prefecture was also the scene of a series of mass public protests in January and February challenging Chinese rule.
Reported by Ugyen Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Righden Dolma. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.