Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province have released a Tibetan monk detained for spreading word of a fatal police crackdown after hundreds of fellow monks staged a protest march to a local police station demanding his freedom, sources said Wednesday.
Kelsang Chodar, a monk of the Palyul monastery in Palyul (in Chinese, Baiyu) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was released earlier this week, local sources said.
“Kelsang Chodar, who was detained on Oct. 12 in Palyul, was released on Oct. 20 in [the Sichuan capital] Chengdu city,” one source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He was grateful to the monks and the local Tibetans in Palyul whose collective efforts helped in his release,” the source said. “Their actions stopped the authorities from conducting detention and torture for no apparent crime.”
Around 400 Tibetan monks had marched to the police station in Palyul on Oct. 12 to demand the release of Chodar, who had been detained on suspicion of spreading information about deadly protests in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region’s Driru (Biru, in Chinese) county in Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture.
Chodar is a native of Nagchu’s Sog (Suo) county in the TAR.
On Oct. 8, Chinese security forces shot dead four Tibetan villagers and wounded 50 others in Driru in a continuing crackdown on protests opposing a government campaign of forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state.
The shooting deaths were the first reported fatalities since authorities in Driru began a crackdown last month on Tibetans protesting orders to hang the Chinese flag from their homes.
No word has been received on any police action taken against the Palyul monks who demanded his release.
Earlier this month, a Tibetan writer and his friend were detained on suspicion of supporting community protests involving school students and Tibetan residents of Mowa and Monchen villages who staged hunger strikes against the actions of authorities in Driru.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 122 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.
Reported by Lobsang Sherab for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.