An elderly Tibetan has been severely beaten and sentenced to prison for shouting slogans for Tibetan freedom at a cultural show in a restive county where Tibetans were required to wave Chinese flags, according to sources.
Dayang, 68, who is recovering in hospital with internal injuries resulting from alleged police torture, was detained on Sept. 3 in Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture and sentenced three weeks later.
“On Sept. 24, Dayang was sentenced by the Driru People’s Court to a term of two-and-a-half years,” a source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He was beaten and tortured while in custody,” the source said, adding, “His kidneys and lungs are believed to be damaged.”
Dayang was sentenced for shouting slogans for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and for Tibetan freedom at a cultural show in Tsachu Township in Driru County, the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.
“During a cultural show organized by the Chinese authorities in Tsachu, where Tibetans were required to wave Chinese flags and appear happy, Dayang raised slogans challenging the spectacle of forced happiness on local Tibetans,” the group said.
Government efforts in Driru in recent weeks to force Tibetan displays of loyalty to the Chinese state, including the hoisting of Chinese flags on Tibetan homes, have resulted in widespread protests, detentions, and gunshots fired by Chinese police into unarmed crowds.
Police fired into crowd
On Sunday, Chinese security forces shot and wounded at least 60 Tibetans as they fired into a crowd demanding the release of a villager who had led protests against orders to fly the Chinese flag from their homes.
Dayang, a resident of Donglha Rudo village in Driru county’s Tsachu township, was taken into custody on Sept. 3 after “protesting against a Chinese propaganda and cultural team when they visited villages in the Driru area,” a second source in Tibet told RFA.
“Holding a white scarf in his hand, he called out for Tibetan independence and for the long life of the Dalai Lama.”
“The Chinese, he said, should leave Tibet.”
Dayang was then quickly overpowered by Chinese police who forced a black hood over his head and beat him severely as they took him away, the source said.
Following an earlier stay in a hospital in Driru, Dayang was recently brought to a hospital in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa under police supervision, sources said.
“One of his sons, who lives in Lhasa, was allowed to meet with him briefly in the hospital,” one source said.
“After the protest incident on Sept. 3, his family members knew nothing about his condition,” he continued. “But later, when he was brought to the county hospital in Driru, his family was allowed to see him, and they saw that he was in bad condition.”
TCHRD said that Driru county has now been brought under “total lockdown” following recent protests there.
“All communications lines including the phone and internet have been blocked since late September 2013,” TCHRD said, adding,“Moreover, residents of Driru living in Nagchu [town] and Lhasa are not allowed to visit their homes in Driru County.”
“Many residents of Driru have been stranded in Nagchu unable to return due to strict restrictions on movement placed by security forces,” the rights group said.
An India-based exile source named Tenzin told RFA’s Mandarin Service on Monday that Chinese authorities have dispatched more than 200 paramilitary and police vehicles to villages in Driru, setting up checkpoints on all the major roads.
“They have confiscated Tibetans’ cell phones and blocked communications by phone and the Internet. Now people have to bring their ID cards even when they go out to shop, and police are taking away all Tibetans who cannot show their ID.”
Driru-area Tibetans now living in Lhasa have been forbidden to return to their hometowns, a local source added.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 122 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six Tibetans setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.