China Steps Up Crackdown in Tibet

China is intensifying its crackdown on Tibet after the largest anti-Chinese protests there in almost 50 years. But many monks have refused to fly the Chinese flag on monastery roofs, sources in China and India say.

In addition to reports from remote Qinghai province this week that authorities have arrested Tibetan feminist and writer Jamyang Kyi, Tibetans say five other Qinghai Tibetan community leaders are in custody as well. All are residents of Machen [in Chinese, Maqin] county in Golog [Guoluo] prefecture, and all are now being held in the provincial capital, Xining, sources said.

The five are Golog Dape, a popular comedian, leader of the Gangchen performance group, and animal rights activist; Dolma Kyi, a singer, activist, and founder of the folk-music company Gangchen Metok; Palchen Kyab, principal of the private Mayul Dargye school, founded with donations from Tibetan nomads; Lhundrup, Mayul Dargye’s assistant principal; and Sonam Dorje, a teacher.

Golog prefecture State Security Bureau officers took the five into custody March 31 and moved them to Xining, sources said. No information on charges against them was available. “No relatives have been allowed to visit them,” one source in Qinghai said.

An official at the Golog prefecture Public Security Bureau refused to comment and referred questions to her superior, who also refused to comment and hung up.

It’s normal that we hoist Chinese flags on the land of mainland China.

Kardze religious affairs official
Also in Qinghai, according to the exile Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, 100 people, including monks from the Rong Gonchen monastery, were arrested April 17 in Rebkong [Tongren Xian] county.

A hotel employee told RFA’s Cantonese service that tourists were now barred from visiting the Rong Gonchen temple. “There are some armed police there,” a local religious affairs official said.

“There aren’t many armed police, but there are many police there. No one can go to the monastery now. Other monasteries are o.k., though,” the official said. County officials and police declined to comment.

Sichuan search

In Sichuan province, which like Qinghai comprises a large Tibetan population, an authoritative source said security officers this week searched Palyul monastery in Kardze [Ganzi] prefecture looking for evidence of anti-Chinese activities.

“Today a group of police including some Tibetans came to the monastery and searched everywhere. They found a photo of the Dalai Lama and took it away,” one witness said April 16.

“The Chinese authorities including county authorities insisted that the monastery fly the Chinese national flag on top of the main temple. The monastery did not accept it,” the source said.

Traditionally, only Buddhist flags fly atop monasteries in Tibet.

At an April 12 meeting in Dartsedo [Kangding], also in Kardze, Chinese authorities instructed a gathering of monks “to fly the Chinese national flag on every Tibetan Buddhist monastery under Kardze prefecture. There are more than 200 monasteries,” Lobsang Gyaltsen, a monk at Drepung monastery in India, said, citing monks who attended the Dartsedo meeting.

“All Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in the area were told to participate in the campaign. The monks were told to sign criticisms of the exile Tibetan government, the Dalai Lama, and the protests in Lhasa that hurt China,” he said.

Where did you get that information? Do not contact us for such things.

Minority and Religious Affairs Committee official, Lhasa
“Above all, the monasteries were told to fly the Chinese five-starred flag over their monasteries, and then the monks and nuns should pledge under the flag to applaud China, hold the Dalai Lama and the exile government responsible for the unrest in different parts of Tibetan areas, and recognize the Dalai Lama as a separatist,” he said. Many of the monks refused, he said.

An official at the Kardze religious affairs office wouldn’t directly confirm the order to raise Chinese flags over monasteries. But the official, speaking to RFA’s Cantonese service, said, “It’s normal that we hoist Chinese flags on the land of mainland China.”

Several Chinese residents, however, said all temples in Kardze were now flying Chinese flags. “There are national flags everywhere,” one resident told RFA’s Mandarin service.

Authorities at the Minority and Religious Affairs Committee in Lhasa meanwhile declined to comment “Where did you get that information? Do not contact us for such things,” one official said.

Also in Kardze, abbots and reincarnate lamas from 43 monasteries in Sershul [Shiqu] county were summoned to the county religious affairs office March 26 and given the same instructions, Lobsang Gyaltsen said.

Monks at Kham Draggo [Luhuo] monastery in Kardze were also told to repent and apologize for their involvement in the anti-China protests and to fly the Chinese flag, but they refused.

Another source said armed police were sent to Kardze’s Nyagrong [Xinlong] town after residents refused to condemn the Dalai Lama. Monks at Shiwa monastery in Nyagrong have begun flying Chinese flags.

Tibet Autonomous Region

Three of 62 monasteries in Jomda (Jiangda), in Chamdo [Changdu] prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), have been pressed into “re-education campaigns” aimed at eliciting condemnations of the Dalai Lama, another source said.

Officials and police arrived at Dzigar monastery, also in Chamdo, on April 11, the source said, adding that monks at Wara and Sungda monasteries have refused to take part. Whether they have suffered any consequences was unclear.

Riots began in Lhasa

Beijing says about 19 people were killed in rioting that began in Lhasa in mid-March but spread to other Tibetan areas as well. 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, Tibet’s exiled leader, 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.

Original reporting by RFA’s Tibetan, Mandarin, and Cantonese services. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Cantonese service director: Shiny Li. Translation by Karma Dorjee, Shiny Li, and Jiayuan. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.


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