A young Tibetan monk staged a solitary protest Sunday against Chinese rule in restive Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) township in Sichuan province before security forces severely beat him and took him away, sources said.
As he walked up and down the street while protesting, Kunchen, 22, threw prayer leaflets and shouted for the long life of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and for his return, the sources said.
Kunchen, who is from the local Gepel Ling monastery, staged the brief protest close to a statue of a yellow horse at the center of Serthar town in the Karze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Not long after, about 30 Chinese police and security personnel swarmed him and beat him severely before taking him away," the source said.
The authorities immediately tightened security in Serthar, where Tibetan demonstrations early last year had led to a bloody crackdown by the Chinese authorities and triggered several self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.
Braving harsh treatment and long prison terms, Tibetans continue to shout slogans questioning Chinese rule in solitary protests in Tibetan-populated areas.
Tibetan self-immolation protests highlighting opposition to Chinese rule have also intensified, with 98 burnings since the fiery protests began in February 2009. Three burnings occurred in January.
Amid the protests, the Tibetan exile government has appealed to Tibetans not to celebrate the Tibetan New Year which falls on Feb. 11 as a mark of respect for "all who have sacrificed their lives and for all who continue to suffer in occupied Tibet."
In a statement last week, Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), as the exile government is called, asked Tibetans to perform only the customary new year religious rituals, like visiting temples and making offerings.
"Do wear our traditional robe [Chuba] to display our identity and tradition. Kindly pray for all who have sacrificed their lives and for all who continue to suffer in occupied Tibet," he said.
Lobsang Sangay said that despite CTA appeals to Tibetans to not undertake drastic actions, self-immolations persist in Tibet.
"The universal demands of the Tibetans have been the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans. This is the aspiration of Tibetans and our sacred duty to support," he said.
Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.