Security forces in a western region of China have detained and fined family members of three young Tibetans who have gone 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 the town of Dzakhog in Dege county in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.
The posters and leaflets bore the messages “We want freedom!,” “Tibet is independent!,” and “Invite the Dalai Lama to Tibet!” and were signed by the three men, sources said.
“Chinese forces are searching for them everywhere with great urgency,” a Tibetan in the Kardze area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Chinese 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.
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.
Forests being searched
The detained family members are currently being held at the Dege County Detention Center, a local source said.
“Because of this incident, hundreds of Chinese security personnel are present [in the area],” the source continued.
“They are searching each and every house in the village and are also looking for [the protesters] in the forests, but no detentions have been made so far.”
Meanwhile, on March 10, in the town of Bathang in Kardze, two unnamed students staged a lone protest against Chinese rule, shouting “Independence for Tibet!” and “Long Live the Dalai Lama!”
“They were immediately detained by Chinese police,” a local Tibetan said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“After this, a large number of Chinese People’s Armed Police were called in and blocked all the nearby roads,” the source added.
On March 21, the same source said, 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.
“Now, the town of Bathang and the Ba Choedhe monastery are surrounded by Chinese People’s Armed Police,” he said.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.