Three people, including two nuns, have been detained in separate incidents following protests against Chinese rule in a Tibetan region of Southwestern Sichuan province on Tuesday, according to sources with contacts in the area.
“Two nuns staged a protest in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) county seat during the early hours of June 28,” said a reporter from Delhi, India, who spoke with people in the region.
“The two nuns are Kunga Choezom, 22, and Deckyi Lhamo, 18, of the Gyemadra Nunnery in Kardze county,” he said.
“They held up slogans in the town calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, independence for Tibet, and freedom to practice religion.”
The reporter said that a third Tibetan had been detained for protesting on the same day.
“Another Tibetan named Karma Yeshi was also detained when he protested in Kardze town,” he said.
“His details are not available.”
Another source in India, who asked to remain anonymous, said contacts in Kardze told him that the nuns had snuck into the town at night because Chinese authorities had tightened security there in the wake of ongoing protests.
“They knew that they could not enter Kardze during the daytime … if any Tibetans intend to enter Kardze, they must seek permission from the authorities. So they snuck into Kardze on the night of June 27 and then staged a protest in the morning hours of June 28,” the man said.
“They threw leaflets in the air. They shouted for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for the freedom to practice religion, and for the independence of Tibet. They were able to shout and throw leaflets in the town for five to 10 minutes before they were detained and taken away,” he said.
“Kunga Choezom is from Kuru village. Her father is Doku Thondup and Oser Dolma is her mother. Deckyi Lhamo is from Choenye Ting village. Her father’s name is Choenye and Deyang is her mother.”
It was unclear where the three Tibetans were being held and officials could not be reached for details.
Authorities in Kardze have detained more than 60 people in the wake of protests against Chinese rule which began on June 6 and have escalated since June 17. Most of those detained are lamas or local people, according to Tibetan sources in exile.
In addition to calls for Tibetan independence, protesters have also demanded the release of political prisoners who were detained in Kardze the previous year.
Chinese authorities have dramatically increased security measures in Kardze following protests through June 17-19, during which exiled Tibetans said protests occurred “sometimes two or three a day.”
Kalsang, an MP in the Tibetan parliament in exile in Dharamsala, India, 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 RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.