Tibetans arriving for the consecration of a Buddhist shrine in Sichuan Province, China, were surprised to see a large Tibetan national flag fluttering from the top of a huge local radio tower earlier this year, RFA's Tibetan service reports.

Two teams of Chinese soldiers tried unsuccessfully to remove the flag--a symbol of resistance to Chinese rule over traditionally Tibetan lands--before Kandze (in Chinese, Ganzi) authorities called in a group of professional climbers, who quickly scaled the 72-meter radio tower, Tibetan refugees arriving in Nepal told RFA�s Tibetan service.

�I saw it with my own eyes, and I could see it from a distance,� said one Tibetan refugee who attended the Aug. 19 inauguration of a new Buddhist stupa , or shrine, built by a Chinese sponsor. �The flag was hanging facing Kandze monastery and I could see the white snow lions on it from a distance. The flag was about three meters long.�

When the inauguration began at around 7 a.m., he said, �people noticed a huge flag hung on the top of local radio tower. This radio tower is located near a small town in Kandze called Wa Township. The Chinese built this huge tower. Many metal cables are tied to this tower. The Tibetan flag was hung from its top.�

�Chinese soldiers came to the area and tried to climb but they couldn't climb beyond the second or third level. Then they came down. Another team tried, but they climbed only till the fourth level and they gave up. Finally they called in some professional climbers and pulled down the flag. It took about two hours,� the refugee said.

Chinese Public Security officials still haven�t found the person or people who hung the flag, the refugee added. The local officials in Kandze denied any knowledge of the Tibetan flag on the radio tower. One local official said, "I do not know anything about this.� Another official said, �There was nothing.�

Sichuan Province borders the Tibetan Autonomous Region and includes parts of traditionally Tibetan territory. Kandze--known locally as Karze--forms part of the Kham Tibetan region, which falls under the administration of Sichuan Province. #####


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