WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003--Chinese authorities have arrested three Tibetans in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, for alleged separatist activities, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. The arrests come amid tighter curbs ahead of the birthday of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The three Tibetans arrested June 16 were identified as Lhasa City CPPCC member Yeshi Gyatso and two third-year students at Tibet University, Dawa Tashi and Buchung (eds: one name), according to sources who asked not to be identified.
They are accused of involvement in "activities to split the motherland."
No further details were immediately available.
As it does every year, the Lhasa city government has issued new curbs on civil liberties in the runup to the Dalai Lama's birthday. A recent circular warns residents against burning incense, hanging prayer flags, and visiting temples or monasteries.
"All these activities are now illegal," one source said.
Chinese authorities have long outlawed celebrations of the July 6 birthday of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He is now based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.
RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. #####