HONG KONG—Small groups of Tibetans in the southwestern province of Sichuan have staged more protests against Chinese rule despite a major security clampdown after protests and rioting by anti-Chinese protesters this year.
"There were about four or five protesters [Wednesday]," a resident of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan said.
"They are at the intersection of two roads downtown. There were no such protests during the past few days, but there are protests today," the man said. "I could hear what they yelled."
Tibetan sources in Kardze confirmed that a woman, Namsel Lhamo, 30, from Raka village; a man, Tenzin Thargyal, 32; and a third man whose name wasn't known protested at the main intersection of Kardze town on June 11 around 10 a.m. A boy and a monk from Lhoba village protested on the same day.
All five Tibetan protesters were beaten and detained by police, sources in the area said. After the protests, local officials raided Namsel Lhamo’s home and took away photos of Tibet's exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, and smashed them on the floor.
Woman's brother 'drew sword'
"At that time, Pema Gyatso, 30, brother of Namsel Lhamo, drew his sword. The officials fled the house, but not long after about 200 Chinese Public Security Bureau police were dispatched to arrest him. In the meantime, Pema Gyatso managed to escape from the area to the mountains," one Tibetan source said.
"Chinese officials are giving a hard time to other members of the family, including the elderly parents and young kids."
Another source said that on June 12, a Tibetan man called Palden Wangyal, 20, protested in the center of Kardze town, tying a white prayer scarf round his head and holding the banned Tibetan flag in his hand. Sources said he managed to walk two kms (1.2 miles) before being detained by police.
More than 100 Tibetans have been detained for staging anti-Chinese protests in Kardze since March 18. Some are held in the town itself, while others are scattered through detention centers in Nyagrong and Dartsedo counties, sources say.
Calls to the Kardze Public Security Bureau went unanswered during office hours Wednesday
These incidents are the latest in a series of small but persistent protests following a crackdown across all areas of China with significant Tibetan populations.
Chinese authorities briefly detained more than 300 Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Kardze at the weekend after they marched on county offices demanding the release of a protesting colleague, Tibetan sources said.
Tsering Tsomo, 28, from Samten Ling nunnery, was detained June 8 as she handed out leaflets in Draggo (in Chinese, Luhuo) county calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. Later that day, more than 300 nuns from Samten Ling nunnery marched to county government offices in support of Tsering Tsomo.
All were detained and many were beaten.
The Chinese authorities have launched a concerted "patriotic education" campaign among Tibetans, aimed at diminishing support for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing blames for violence that erupted in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, on March 14.
Beijing says that 22 people were killed in the rioting, which began in Lhasa and spread rapidly to other Tibetan areas of western China. Tibetan sources say scores of people were killed when Chinese paramilitary and police opened fire on crowds of demonstrators.
Chinese authorities have blamed the Dalai Lama for instigating the protests and fomenting a Tibetan independence movement. The Dalai Lama rejects the accusation, saying he wants only autonomy and human rights for Tibetans.
The United States and the European Union have called on China to have "results-oriented" talks soon with the Dalai Lama's representatives. A seventh round of talks between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government was postponed last week because of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan.
In a joint statement, U.S. and EU leaders expressed concern about recent unrest in Tibet and urged all sides to refrain from further violence. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said China opposes international interference on the Tibet issue.
Original reporting in Mandarin by Qiao Long and in Tibetan by RFA's Tibetan service. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translated by Chen Ping and Karma Dorjee. Written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie and edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.