Chinese police have severely beaten and detained two teenage Tibetan girls after they staged a peaceful protest against Chinese rule in a Tibetan-majority region in southwestern Sichuan province, a source close to the family of one the girls said.
The girls—identified as Tashi Pelmo, 16, and Pema Yangdzom, 19—were later released to their families, but have been forbidden from seeking medical treatment for their injuries, which have been described as severe, the source said.
“On July 12, just after 4:00 p.m., the two girls arrived at the marketplace of Kardze town and carried out a peaceful protest, shouting slogans calling for independence for Tibet and for the long life and return to Tibet of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama,” Lobsang Dondrub, a Tibetan monk living in India, said.
Kardze, the main town of the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, has been the scene of repeated Tibetan protests—both by individuals and by small groups—in recent weeks.
Just after they staged their protests, “police arrived and severely beat the girls in the presence of many witnesses,” said Dondrub, citing information given by the family of one of the girls.
Medical help denied
The girls were then taken into custody and were released two days later to their family homes in nearby Nordzin village, Dondrub said.
Chinese authorities also confiscated the girls’ identification cards and instructed them not to leave their homes or seek medical care.
The younger girl is badly bruised and in great pain and has difficulty urinating, Dondrub said, adding that the girl’s father suspects his daughter was sexually assaulted while in police custody.
The older girl is also said to have been badly hurt, he said.
Calls to the girls’ families rang unanswered Tuesday.
A solitary protest
Meanwhile, on July 15, a Tibetan man mounted a solitary protest in Kardze town and was also beaten and detained, according to the man’s sister.
Ngawang Phuntsog, 34, arrived in the town’s marketplace at about 9:00 a.m. on Friday carrying the banned Tibetan national flag and a bag of leaflets, said Drolma Lhamo, who lives in Switzerland.
After a five-minute protest witnessed by many of his neighbors, who had gone to the market to shop, Phuntsog was attacked by Chinese police, who fired rubber bullets at his legs, severely beat him, and took him into custody, Lhamo said, citing witness accounts.
When their elderly father tried to visit his son in detention and bring him a change of clothes, he was turned away by police, she said.
Lhamo added that she learned that before beginning his protest, Phuntsog had visited nearby Dhargye monastery, where he made an offering and told the monks, ‘Until now, I have never done anything worthwhile in my life. Now I am going to do something good.’
Reported by Rigdhen Dolma and Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.