A Tibetan monk was taken into custody by police in southwestern China's Sichuan province on Tuesday after staging a solo protest challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, sources in the region and in exile said.
Lobsang Tsering, believed to be in his 20s, was detained shortly after launching his protest at about 4:00 p.m. local time on June 7 on a street known locally as Heroes’ Road in the main town of Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in the Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, one local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“While walking in protest through the street, he carried a photo of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama and a ceremonial scarf raised high over his head, calling out loudly for the Dalai Lama’s long life,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Soon afterward, police overpowered him and took him away,” he said.
No information was immediately available regarding Tsering’s condition or whereabouts following his detention, though a second local source said that the monk, who was enrolled in Ngaba's restive Kirti monastery, was “severely beaten” as he was being detained.
“Many people standing on both sides of the road witnessed his protest, but no one else was seen raising any slogans,” the source added, also speaking on condition he not be named.
“Additional numbers of police were then stationed on the roads and at all the intersections of Ngaba town,” a third local source said, adding that members of Kirti monastery’s government-run management committee were later seen at the protest site.
“Security forces were still stationed on the streets late on Tuesday night,” the source said.
Speaking from exile in France and citing contacts in Ngaba, another Tibetan source said that Tsering, also known as Abe, was enrolled in the Kalachakra College of Kirti monastery, the scene of frequent protests calling for Tibetan freedom in recent years.
“He was born in Lhade Gabma in Ngaba,” the source, named Sonam, said. “His father’s name is Ngore and his mothers’s name is Yukho.”
Tsering’s Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by Tibetan monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule.
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 145 Tibetans living in China have now set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.
Reported by Lhuboom, Lobe Socktsang, Kunsang Tenzin, and Yangdon Demo for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.