Tibetan Youths Arrested for Pro-Independence Posters


2004-01-09
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Student paraded in region as warning

Chinese authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan arrested two students for putting up pro-independence posters on local government buildings in their town, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

The youths were identified as Nyima Dorjee and Lobsang Dorjee, aged between 18 and 19. Both were students at the Tawu junior high school in the historically Tibetan region of Karze, sources told RFA's Tibetan service. They were arrested between August and September 2003 and held at a local prison in Tawu (in Chinese, Daufu), Karze (Ganzi)Prefecture.

"The local Chinese Public Security Bureau officials knew about the posters and the persons who did it. Therefore they were arrested within a few hours [police] saw the posters," according to a source who asked not to be named. "They are still detained in a local prison."

No comment was available from local authorities in Karze. Whether the youths remain in custody or have been released remains unclear.

The same source said Lobsang Dorjee stood trial in October 2003 along with others who were arrested for murder, theft or looting in the area. "Later, he was paraded in the Tawu area with a wooden board on his neck labeled as separatist," said the source, who saw the posters as a response to a stepped-up campaign of "patriotic education" by Chinese authorities.

"All the monks and nuns in the local monasteries and nunneries in Tawu were instructed by local police to make photo identity cards about six or seven years ago. Most of monks and nuns believe this is a campaign to oppose the Dalai Lama," the source said. "Therefore the monks refused to comply, but this year they intensified the campaign."

Chinese officials had raided Nyitso Monastery and arrested those who refused to comply. Many of those who were arrested were brought to the town and locked up for few days and given stern warnings, the source said.

"In November last year, two monks of Nyitso Monastery were arrested and their houses were demolished for not receiving proper education under the campaign of patriotism and religion," the source told RFA. "There are about 300 nuns in the local Tawu nunnery and about 200 of them were forced to make photo identity cards."

Karze, also known as Kandze and Ganzi (in Chinese), forms part of the Kham Tibetan region, which falls under the administration of Sichuan Province. Sichuan borders the Tibetan Autonomous Region and includes parts of traditionally Tibetan territory.

In November 2003, Karze witnessed the unusual sight of a three-meter long Tibetan national flag-forbidden by the Chinese authorities as a symbol of resistance to Beijing's rule-flying atop a huge local radio tower.

The flag was still flying during the consecration ceremony for a local Buddhist shrine, built by a Chinese sponsor, eyewitnesses reported at the time.

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