Tibetan monks and nuns in Kardze, a Tibetan-majority region in China's southwestern Sichuan province, are stepping up protests against Chinese rule despite being beaten and detained by authorities.
In separate incidents on June 9 and 10, the monks and nuns staged protests alone or in small groups in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to sources in the region, an area known for frequent protests by Tibetans against Beijing's rule.
The protesters also called for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, said a Tibetan resident who witnessed the demonstrations, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against communist rule, has accused the Chinese authorities of imposing a "rule of fear" and "rule of terror" inside Tibet, citing stepped-up security measures and a clampdown on culture and education.
Speaking specifically of the June 10 incident, the Tibetan resident said two nuns from the Lamdrak nunnery and a monk from the Kardze monastery protested in front of a police station in downtown Kardze.
"They staged their protest at Tashingdo, the main center in Kardze town, [where there is] the largest concentration of people. They threw leaflets in the air and shouted slogans demanding the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet."
All three were severely beaten by the police and taken away from the area, the witness said.
The nuns, both in their 20s, were identified as Riga and Shoga, and the monk was named Gowang.
The witness also said that the day before, a nun named Tseyang staged a lone protest.
Another resident who spoke to RFA's reporter in India's capital New Delhi from Tibet confirmed the protests but was unable to give other details.
"I for sure heard that three nuns and a monk protested in Kardze city calling for the return of Dalai Lama on June 9 and 10. I don't know the details."
On June 6, two young monks started a protest in Kardze town, shouting for the "long life" and return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama and throwing leaflets in the air. They were beaten by police and detained.
The next day, another monk staged a lone protest also in downtown Kardze, sources said. He was quickly detained amid heightened security following the protest the day before.
Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translation by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.