Tibetan Monk Detained Following Solo Protest

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Sherkyab in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Updated at 09:30 a.m. EST on 2014-07-14

A Tibetan monk was taken into custody this week by police in western China’s Sichuan province after launching a protest in which he called for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, sources said.

Sherkyab, 20, was detained on Wednesday only five minutes after shouting slogans and scattering leaflets in Serthar town in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Serthar (Seda) county, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“A large group of police arrived and hauled him away to the local police station,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“His present condition is not known,” he said.

During his protest, Sherkyab—formerly a monk at the Nubzer monastery about 20 miles away from Serthar town, and more recently a student at the Serthar Buddhist Institute—shouted slogans calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the source said.

“He also threw leaflets into the air, though a witness to the protest could not discover what was written on them,” he said.

'Failed to report'

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities in June detained a group of Tibetans who had worked to mediate disputes in Kashur village in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan living in India told RFA.

“The main reason for their detention was that they had not reported these incidents to Chinese authorities and had tried to resolve them locally within the Tibetan community,” Tulku Jamyang Yonten said, citing contacts in the region.

“I heard that some of them were released, but further details are still unknown because of restrictions on communications to and from the area,” he said.

Authorities had cracked down on the same village last year when residents resisted a Chinese mining project in the area, Yonten said.

“Eight Tibetans were detained, and their condition is still unknown,” he said.

“No trial has been held yet, though it was announced they would be tried.”

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 131 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.

Reported by Chakmo Tso and Pema Ngodup for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly placed Serthar county in Sichuan's Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.


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