Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have detained a young Tibetan man after he launched a solo protest in a public challenge to Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, sources in the region said.
Tashi Dondrub, age unknown, staged his protest on Dec. 19 on the main street of the Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo’ergai) county seat in the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was dressed in Tibetan traditional costume, wore a Buddhist flag on his back, and carryied a framed photo of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama in his hand,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Before very long, he was detained by local police and taken away,” the source said.
No information was immediately available regarding Dondrub’s present condition or where he is being held, the source said.
Speaking separately, a second local source confirmed that Dondrub had been detained, adding that police also took Dondrub’s uncle into custody the following day.
“On Dec. 20, Dondrub’s uncle Yeshe, aged 30, was detained and taken away,” the source said.
“Tashi Dondrub is also known as Chebe, and he is the son of a daughter of the Khandro Kyab family, who live in Section 3 of Ponkya village in Thangkor township,” the source said.
“His uncle Yeshe—his father’s brother—lived in Socktsang village in Dzoege,” he said.
In September, Sichuan authorities detained at least a dozen Thangkor-area Tibetans, later releasing one, who had reoccupied land taken from them five years ago for a government development project, sources said in earlier reports.
Residents had appealed to the government for the return of their land on May 15, as no developer had begun construction and local authorities were leasing it out to private individuals, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
But local officials, angered by the appeal, retaliated by withdrawing government subsidies for local families, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 143 Tibetans to date setting themselves on fire to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.
Reported by Lobe Socktsang and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.