Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have detained a Tibetan woman after she launched a solo protest in the latest public challenge to Beijing’s rule in restive Ngaba county, according to sources in the region.
Dekyi Dolma, 22, staged her protest in the seat of Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county on Sept. 13, calling for an end to oppressive Chinese policies in the region, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, despite increased security in the aftermath of four similar protests held there since last week.
“She did it knowing full well about the huge presence of Chinese security personnel in the area,” RFA’s source said.
“It didn’t take very long before she was taken away by Chinese police in the town.”
A second local source confirmed that Dolma had been detained and said several bystanders expressed support for her act of defiance.
“There were many Tibetans in town at the time and they raised cries expressing their support for her and anger over the [police] roughing-up of a peaceful protestor,” the source said.
According to the source, a security clampdown had been in place in Ngaba town since two Tibetan monks launched separate protests challenging Beijing’s rule there on the same day last week.
“All internet access in the whole of Ngaba [county] has been disabled since Sept. 10, making it very difficult to communicate,” the source said.
“Armed police have been stationed at every intersection, and additional police vehicles have been deployed to monitor the town and the peoples’ activities.”
Sources told RFA that Tibetan monk Lobsang Drakpa, 20, also known as Adrak, staged a protest in Ngaba town on Sept. 10, calling loudly for Tibetan freedom before he was taken away. They said that some in the crowd who fought with police at the time may also have been detained.
Also on Sept. 10, a second monk—also named Lobsang—launched a solo protest in the town, calling out for Tibetan freedom and the long life of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before he, too, was taken into police custody.
The two protests followed similar ones in Ngaba town on Sept. 9 and Sept. 7, in which two young monks—Jampal Gyatso, 21, and Lobsang Kalsang, age unknown—also marched in the street, shouting slogans, before being detained by police.
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 Lumbum Tashi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.