Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have detained a young Tibetan monk after he launched a solo protest in a public challenge to Beijing’s rule in restive Ngaba county, sources in the region and in exile said.
Lobsang Jamyang, age 15 and a monk at Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, staged his protest in the afternoon of Sept. 23 on the main street of Ngaba town, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He called out for Tibetan freedom and for the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama to Tibet,” RFA’s source said.
“Soon after this, he was taken into custody by police stationed in the town,” who took him away,” the source said.
News of Jamyang’s detention was delayed due to communication blocks imposed by Chinese authorities in the area following a string of similar protests earlier in the month, and no word was immediately available regarding his present whereabouts or condition.
Jamyang’s family home is in Group 2 of the county’s Meruma township, Kanyak Tsering, a monk living in exile in India, told RFA, citing local sources.
“He is a monk at Kirti monastery and enrolled there as a novice,” Tsering said.
Jamyang’s Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.
Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said in earlier reports.
Separately, the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) confirmed that Jamyang had been taken into custody, giving the date of his detention however as Sept. 13-—the same day on which another Ngaba resident, Dawa Dolma, had also launched a solo protest.
Dolma, 22, was also taken away by police after calling for an end to what she called oppressive Chinese policies in the region, sources said in earlier reports.
Three days before, two other young Tibetans—identified by TCHRD as Thinley and Lobsang-—were also detained after protesting on Ngaba's main street, the rights group said in an Oct. 5 statement.
"A large number of arbitrary detention and arrests of Tibetans goes unreported or remains unknown due to fear of reprisals as well as the criminalization of sharing information about human rights violations with outsiders," TCHRD said.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 143 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.