Authorities in a Tibetan region of southwestern Sichuan province have detained more than 60 people in the wake of protests against Chinese rule, exile Tibetan sources said.
"There have been continuing demonstrations in the the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) area," said Jampel Monlam, head of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.
"According to our initial figures, more than 60 people have been detained," Jampel Monlam said. "Most of them are lamas or local people."
"Most of them took part in demonstrations in Kardze county town," he added, referring to the main town of Sichuan's Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which Tibetans refer to as part of Tibet's Kham nomadic regions.
"They were calling for Tibetan independence, for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and for religious freedom," Jampel Monlam added.
They were also calling for the release of political prisoners detained the previous year, he said.
Chinese authorities have tightened security in Kardze in the wake of protests which began on June 6.
Jampel Monlam said the protests had escalated through June 17-19.
"There were protests every day then," he said. "Sometimes two or three in a day."
"Some were from monasteries, others came from nunneries."
Kalsang, an MP in the Tibetan parliament in exile, also in Dharamsala, said the heightened security was also linked to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Chinese Communist Party on July 1.
"The protests have been going on continually from June 6 to now," he said. "It's not just Kardze, but also in the Xinlong region."
"There are protests every day, and people being detained every day."
He said the Chinese authorities were also running a number of high-profile celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the "peaceful liberation" of Tibet by People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops.
"They regard certain Tibetan monasteries and flashpoints as security targets in the run-up to these events, and they are stepping up controls," Kalsang said.
Kardze is known for frequent protests against Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against rule by Beijing, has accused Chinese authorities of imposing a “rule of terror” inside Tibet, citing stepped-up security measures and a clampdown on Tibetan culture and religion.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service, and by Hai Nan for the Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.