Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan beat and detained a Tibetan Buddhist nun last week after she handed out leaflets calling for freedom in Tibet, exile sources said.
"At about 2.00 p.m. on April 16, a nun called Jampa Tso from the Badak Phuntsok Choeling Nunnery was on a large bridge in the [Derge] county seat calling for freedom for Tibet," said Jampel Monlam, spokesman for the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
"She was [also] handing out leaflets."
Eyewitnesses then saw police go over to Jampa Tso, he added. "She was beaten up by the police, and then she was taken away with them."
Jampa Tso, 28, is from Dranggo county in Sichuan's Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
TCHRD said it had confirmed the reports of her beating and interrogation in the Derge county seat.
When Jampa Tso's family arrived at the Derge county police detention center, they were refused permission to meet with her.
"The family was told that Jampa Tso has committed a grave crime and they were intimidated from coming back," the group said in a statement on its website.
Call for release
Badak nunnery was the scene of protests by nuns during the Tibetan uprising of 2008.
"The authorities threatened that if they find any more political activities from the nunnery, the government will close the nunnery," TCHRD said.
The group called for Jampa Tso's immediate release.
"She simply expressed her opinion, which is a fundamental human right," it said.
Much of Tibet has been under tight security since a peaceful demonstration by monks in 2008 in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, was violently suppressed, leading to a riot that left at least 22 dead according to Chinese authorities.
Tibetan protests in three neighboring Chinese provinces followed, prompting Beijing to dramatically increase its troop presence in the region.
The Tibetan government-in-exile in India says about 220 Tibetans died and nearly 7,000 were detained in the subsequent regionwide crackdown.
Also in Derge, three young Tibetan men went into hiding after putting up posters and leaflets calling for independence, Tibetan sources said.
The three men—Tsering Kyipo, 25, Jampa Ngodrup, 33, and Lobsang Thubten, 30—fled after their protest actions on March 6 in Derge's Dzakhog town.
Police moved quickly to detain Tsering Kyipo’s father Sangpa, aged about 53, Lobsang Thubten’s mother Choetso, aged about 64, and Jampa Ngodrup’s brother Mochag, aged about 47, sources said at the time.
The detained relatives were also fined 20,000 yuan (U.S. $3,054) each and told they would remain in custody until the young men are captured or surrender to authorities.
And on March 21, Chinese forces attacked a group of monks from the nearby Ba Choedhe monastery who were carrying a picture of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in a procession in the town market.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.