Chinese police in Sichuan’s Ngaba county detained a Tibetan monk and woman last week after the two launched solo protests two days apart calling for freedom for Tibet, sources said.
In the first protest, Lobsang Dargye, a monk belonging to Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, began to shout slogans on a main road of the county seat on March 16 but was quickly overpowered by police and taken away, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Tibetans who witnessed the protest said that he called out for Tibetan freedom and the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama to Tibet,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Unfortunately, his protest coincided with the presence in Ngaba of large numbers of security forces because of the March 10 anniversary, and he called out for only a short time before he was seized by police.”
On March 10, 1959, Tibetans in Lhasa rose up against Beijing’s tightening political and military control of the formerly independent Tibetan region, sparking a rebellion in which thousands were killed, and Chinese authorities in recent years have clamped down heavily in Tibetan areas on each anniversary, fearing further protests.
This year, Chinese security personnel both in uniform and in plain clothes “can be found almost at every five steps,” RFA’s source said, adding that the heightened security measures in Ngaba are expected to last until March 25.
A second-year student at Kirti monastery, Dargye is a native of Upper Charu township in Ngaba. His father’s name is Gonpo, and his mother’s name is Sonam Kyi, the source said.
“His relatives are really worried and concerned about his present condition,” he said.
Mother of two held
Meanwhile, a Tibetan laywoman named Dukpe was taken into custody after launching a solo protest in Ngaba town on March 18, a second local source told RFA, also speaking on condition he not be named.
“Before her protest, she was in charge of maintaining the grounds near a statue of the Buddha in front of Kirti monastery,” the source said.
“So far, no one knows where she has been taken,” the source said, describing her as married and the mother of two children.
“Her father’s name is Ngakchung and her mother’s name is Wangkyab, and she is a native of Ngaba’s Raru township.”
“All her family members are worried about her,” he said.
Dargye’s and Dukpe’s protests are the second and third to be reported from Ngaba county this year, and follow a similar protest by Kirti monastery monk Lobsang Tsultrim on Feb. 25.
Kirti monastery and Ngaba’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, nuns, and other Tibetans opposed to Chinese rule.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.