Lone Protester Detained

A Tibetan man challenges Chinese rule, urges unity among Tibetans.

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Policeman-Lhasa-305.jpg A Chinese policeman stands guard in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, June 20, 2008.

Police in Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture last week detained a young Tibetan who staged a solitary protest during the visit of a Chinese official to the area, Tibetan sources said.

Ngawang carried the banned Tibetan national flag and shouted slogans before being seized and taken into custody, said Penpa, a Tibetan resident of New York, citing contacts in the region.

“On the 24th or 25th of this month, Ngawang carried out a lone protest in Gonjo county [of the Tibet Autonomous Region],” Penpa said.

“He ran to the main street of the town carrying a Tibetan national flag and shouting ‘Long live the Dalai Lama,’ and ‘Freedom for Tibet.’”

Ngawang also called out to local Tibetans not to fight each other over pasture land, saying, “If you’re so brave, come and join me in my protest,” Penpa added.

Ngawang was able to walk up and down the street only twice before police stationed in the town, the Gonjo county seat, rushed to the scene and detained him, Penpa said.

The next day, he was taken to Chamdo prefecture’s main town, “but his current whereabouts are unknown,” Penpa said.

Confirming Penpa’s account, but giving the date of the protest as July 22, the web site of the India-based Tibetan government in exile identified Ngawang as belonging to the Lana family of the Bolo subdivision of Tikar town in Chamdo.

Photos displayed

Meanwhile, in defiance of Chinese restrictions, Tibetans living in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan are more frequently displaying photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in private homes and in public, a Tibetan resident of the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Recently, His Holiness’s picture has been widely displayed at public gatherings and during religious sermons,” the source said, adding that religious teachers who do not put up the pictures attract smaller crowds.

“Also these days, His Holiness’s picture is displayed more openly in Tibetan homes, restaurants, and hotels.”

Images of Tibet’s exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay are also popular, the source said. “He is very much liked by Tibetans because His Holiness the Dalai Lama has put great trust in him.”

“Young students from middle to high school have put Katri [prime minister] Lobsang Sangay’s picture on their computers,” he said.

Because of this, China is imposing restrictions on the use of Lobsang Sangay’s photo and on references to him contained in CDs or DVDs, the source said.

Reported by Tenzin Wangyal and Norbu Damdul for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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