Tibetan Protest Over Monk

Tibetans still protest the jailing of a leading monk, seven years after his trial.

Tenzin-Delek-Rinpoche-305.jpg Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, in an undated photo.
Photo: Wikipedia
HONG KONG—An unknown number of Tibetan youths have been detained in China's southwestern Sichuan province after staging a protest to appeal for the release of a Buddhist monk jailed for alleged links to a series of bombings, several Tibetan sources said.

The exact number of Tibetans detained on Dec. 5 was unclear, but one exiled source who has been in contact with witnesses said it could exceed 150. At police stations in nearby Kangding, Nyakchukha, and Lithang, repeated phone calls rang unanswered.

"About 60 Tibetans, mostly youths from Othok, went to Nyakchukha county center and appealed for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche," the exile source said, citing contact with several witnesses.

"When they reached the county center, security forces assaulted and detained them. Their motorbikes were smashed and dumped into army vehicles. When other Tibetans learned about the incident, more Tibetans arrived from the Golok and Othok areas," he added.

"The Chinese forces put up roadblocks, but many Tibetans climbed hills and moved towards the county. My sources said there are nearly 500 Tibetans, both male and female. Some said that about 160 were detained."

A map showing Nyakchukha (in Chinese: Yajiang) county in Sichuan province. RFA graphic

Another source, speaking from nearby Lithang, said that 60-70 protesters were being held at a newly built detention center located about four miles (6.5 kms) from the Nyakchukha county center.

Both Nyakchukha and Lithang are now filled with Chinese security forces, the source said.

Lithang, home to a major annual horse-racing festival, was the site of 2007 unrest that heralded a massive anti-Chinese Tibetan uprising in early 2008. At that time, the International Campaign for Tibet said protesting nomads in Lithang called for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

Trial criticized

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was sentenced to death in December 2002 along with a relative, Lobsang Dhondup, who was executed almost immediately. Tibetans are only rarely executed in China for political crimes.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, based at a monastery in nomad-dominated Othok, was granted a two-year reprieve, then had his sentence commuted to life in 2005.

In 2004, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the Chinese authorities of persecuting Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and said his case highlighted ongoing strictures placed on Tibetans in China.

Human Rights Watch called for the immediate release of Tenzin Delek pending a new trial conforming to international standards.

Contact difficult

Since a widespread Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in early 2008, direct international contact with Tibet has proven far more difficult.

Tibetans themselves can face prosecution for speaking directly with foreign media, making indirect contact through Tibetans in exile a major conduit for news about Tibet.

Another exile source, also citing contacts with witnesses, said a group of Tibetans from Golok and Othok—both Sichuan farming areas—had traveled to Beijing to petition for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's release but were detained and beaten.

"When those who were brought back.to the county center, other local Tibetans stood up in support of those who were severely beaten," the source said.

"When the Tibetans rallied to support [them], the authorities brought in a huge security force and assaulted the Tibetans. I was told that the place near the county center where they were beaten was stained with blood," he said.

"A group of Tibetan youths from the Othok area arrived at the county center on motorbikes. They were also attacked, and the security forces took away all the motorbikes in two army trucks. Several of them were detained and loaded in vehicles," he said.

"I was told many Tibetans who could not be detained are being blocked and surrounded by security force in a valley not far from the County center."

Original reporting by Lobsang Choephel for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated from the Tibetan by Karma Dorjee. Edited and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.


Dec 07, 2009 08:55 PM

Anyone there, has big magical power to help the people ordeal, since illegal occupation by inhumane Mao Tse Tong forces, Tibetan people always have been getting jail, prosecution and treating them like the third-class citizens of China. Please the world once again join the chorus to condemn Chinese Communists. How could this ruthless Chinese Communist assign to be the superpower in the new century if all the time, they have no human rights respect, killing armless people, plundering others, down with Communist regime of China and Youn. It's very dangerous if they culminate in supremacy.

Dec 10, 2009 04:25 AM

that is be very nice, always tibetan people ar doing very bedly

Dec 07, 2009 01:15 PM

The consequences of China's illegal occupation yielded too badly for unarmed, speechless Tibetan people on their motherland. Every Chinese people love justice, happiness, peace... Why these handful remnants of cruel Chinese Mao Tse Tong not behave and act humanely in order to adapt themselve as the 21st century powerful leaders of the world. We were lucky since we not been in China that's why only our sympathy for them. Wish Chinese would-be-dead Leaders became more humane and conscient