Tibetan Detained for Media Contact

More than two months after Tibet erupted in protests against China's heavy-handed rule, Tibetan sources in the region report the arrest of one of their own for allegedly making contact with Hong Kong media.
2008-05-27 - KATHMANDU
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Tibetan Buddhist monks, May 2008.
Tibetan Buddhist monks, May 2008.
RFA photo

Chinese authorities have detained a Tibetan man in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan for allegedly speaking with foreign reporters about massive protests that swept the region earlier this year, Tibetan sources said.
 
Nyima Drakpa was detained late April 19 in Tawu [in Chinese, Daofu] county in Sichuan, an authoritative source said. “The security forces came in three vehicles from China, and they were not local police,” the source said.
 
“His relatives later learned that he was detained in Dartsedo but they weren’t allowed to contact him.”

Dartsedo is the Tibetan name for the town called Kangding in Chinese.
 
Allegedly passed information

“It was alleged that he sent photos of protests and passed information to reporters in Hong Kong. He is a very smart person and had many connections,” the source said.
 
“He got a contact number from his source in Dharamsala and told a Hong Kong reporter in Mandarin that the Tibetans weren’t protesting against the Chinese people, and certainly not against the Beijing Olympics,” the source said.
 
“He said there are no human rights for Tibetans and their religious teachers aren’t allowed to visit them in Tibet. So he stressed again that they were not protesting against the Chinese people or trying to obstruct the Olympics.”
 
On April 5, Nyima Drakpa suspected he was in trouble when Chinese officials mentioned several countries contacted from Tawu, another source said, so he stopped staying at his own home.
 
“On the day of his arrest, he was coming to his sister’s home with a friend. So he was detained on the road, not by local police, but by Public Security Bureau officers. They alleged that he contacted a foreign reporter in Hong Kong,” the second source said.
 
Detained once before


Both sources said Nyima Drakpa had run afoul of the authorities in the past by copying statements by the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, for which he was jailed for 15 days.
 
He was later detained briefly for allegedly putting up posters calling for Tibetan independence, but he was released when another man confessed.

Tibetan residents of Tawu own some 500 trucks, local sources said, 200 of which are parked in Tawu blocking Chinese-owned trucks. Residents said they weren’t sure why but suspected the park-in amounted to a protest against Chinese rule.

‘Patriotic education’

Chinese authorities have made numerous arrests and launched a “patriotic education” campaign aimed at Tibetans in the wake of rioting that began in Lhasa in mid-March and then spread to other Tibetan areas.

Beijing says 22 people were killed in the rioting. Tibetan sources say scores of people were killed when Chinese paramilitary and police opened fire on crowds of demonstrators.
 
Chinese authorities have blamed the Dalai Lama for instigating the protests and fomenting a Tibetan independence movement. The Dalai Lama rejects the accusation, saying he wants only autonomy and human rights for Tibetans.

Original reporting in Kham by Tsewang Norbu and in Uke by Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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