Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have detained a Tibetan man after he launched a solo protest in the latest public challenge to Beijing’s rule in restive Ngaba county, Tibetan sources living in India said.
Tashi, 31, staged his protest in the seat of Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in the Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture on Oct. 26, calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Tibetan monks Lobsang Yeshe and Kanyak Tsering said, citing contacts in the region.
“He carried a photo of the Dalai Lama in his hand as he walked down the street in protest,” Yeshe and Tsering said, adding, “Police stationed in the town quickly jumped on him and took him away.”
“At present, he is said to be held in the Ngaba detention center,” they said.
“Tashi is a family man with four children, two boys and two girls,” Yeshe and Tsering said. “His wife’s name is Kelpe, and two of their children are still students at the Meruma township school in Ngaba.”
“They all live in Group Five of Meruma township,” they said.
News of Tashi’s detention was briefly delayed due to communication blocks imposed by Chinese authorities in the area following a string of similar protests last month, and no official confirmation of his whereabouts or details regarding his condition were immediately available.
Internet service in the Ngaba area has been cut off since September after other Tibetans, including a woman and several monks, launched solo protests in the town, with the restrictions especially hurting the county’s business sector, Yeshe and Tsering said.
Hotels in the area have been particularly hard hit, they said.
“They are appealing to authorities to lift the ban."
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 on fire to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.
Reported by Dhondup Gonsar for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.