Tibetan villagers in northwestern China’s Qinghai province clashed with county officials this week after being ordered to vote for a government-backed candidate for local office instead of the candidate they preferred, sources said.
The Dec. 7 incident occurred during an electoral meeting attended by residents and officials of Taktak township in Darlag (in Chinese, Dari) county in the Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“On that day, elections for local-level government employees were being held in townships all over the county,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“But when the vote was held in Taktak township, the local people argued with officials over who should be elected, with officials insisting that a man named Tenkyab—the candidate favored by the government—should be voted in,” the source said.
“The public proposed instead to elect a candidate named Lokar, a man with 16 years of experience, and this so angered the officials that they reacted violently,” he said.
Darlag county leader Rinchen Tso shouted at the crowd, the source said, adding that the enraged official also attacked two villagers,Tsephel and Tsekyab of the Kangdotsang family, grabbing them by the hair and beating them.
“This was followed by a verbal clash between the public and officials, with Rinchen Tso forcing villagers to hand over many of the votes that had already been cast,” he said.
The Tibetans then dispersed and returned home, with some later expressing regret over the officials’ anger that they had not taken part in the vote, the source said.
“Nevertheless, the local people said again that if the right to elect government employees rested solely with the public, Tenkyab, the candidate favored by the officials, would never be elected.”
Security in Darlag has been stepped up following a July clash stemming from the death of a Tibetan knocked down by a Chinese truck driver.
Eight among 40 Tibetans initially detained following the July 25 clash had been jailed.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.