Chinese police in Sichuan’s Ngaba county detained and beat a Tibetan monk this week, leaving him hospitalized with severe injuries after he staged a solitary protest opposing Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, according to a local source.
Lobsang Tsultrim, a monk in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county’s Kirti monastery, was taken into custody at around 1:00 p.m. on Oct. 17 after shouting slogans while walking along a street in Ngaba county’s main town, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He called out for Tibetan freedom and for the long life of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama as he walked, and when he arrived at the street in front of the Tibetan Language Middle School he was stopped by police and taken away,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Tsultrim was then severely beaten by police and held overnight at a court house in the town, the source said.
“He was rushed to Ngaba Hospital the next day and is now reported to be in critical condition,” he said.
On Oct. 18, a group of Chinese police went to Kirti to question monks about the incident, and the presence of police and security officers has now been strengthened throughout the town, RFA’s source said.
Ngaba’s Kirti monastery and the county’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule.
Two days before Tsultrim’s protest, Kirti monastery had begun a four-day event marking completion of a lavish new residence for the monastery’s abbot, who lives in Dharamsala, India, seat of Tibet’s government in exile.
Restrictions imposed on the celebration by authorities, including the banning of local students then on their holiday break, “had become unbearable, and these may have triggered [Tsultrim’s] protest,” RFA’s source 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 145 Tibetans living in China have set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.