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October 23, 2011


Paper no. 4736


By B.Raman [[ Bahukutumbi Raman, former head of the counter-terrorism
division of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis
Wing [ RAW ] ]]

 According to Tibetan sources in the Sichuan province of China,
leaflets in the Tibetan language have been circulating in the Tibetan
areas of the province calling for a day of protests and fasting on
October 19 in solidarity with a similar observance by Tibetans all
over the world to condemn the continued oppression of the Tibetans by
the Chinese and the military detention of a large number of Tibetan
monks of the Kirti monastery in the province since March following the
self-immolation of a young monk.

2. Anger over the military detention of the monks ostensibly for
self-education has led to seven incidents of self-immolation by monks
since then. The anger has been further aggravated by the arrests of
many monks by the Chinese on charges of abetment at suicide for not
stopping the self-immolations and by the Chinese refusal to hand over
the dead bodies of the monks who committed self-immolation to the
monastery or the village to which they belonged. The Chinese have been
cremating the dead bodies and handing over only the ashes.

3. Since the beginning of this month there has been a number of
incidents of  peaceful street protests  and closing down of shops by
Tibetans in the Sichuan province. Three days of protests and shop
closures between October 8 and 10  have been reported from the Ngaba
area of Sichuan . There have been many incidents of Tibetan flags
being hoisted in public places after removing the Chinese national
flags. The Chinese authorities have detained a number of persons to
interrogate them as to who is behind these incidents, but they have
not been able to stop such incidents

4. In one incident reported on October 13 from the  Khakor subdistrict
of Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi)
prefecture,  some local Tibetans managed to remove a Chinese flag from
a police station and hoist a Tibetan flag .

5. On October 1, the Chinese National Day, about 200 Tibetans had
staged a protest demonstration at  Serthar  after  the police tore a
Tibetan flag and a large photo of  his Holiness  the Dalai Lama from a
building and threw them into the street.

6.  There has been a war of words between the Chinese authorities and
the Tibetan Government-in-exile headed by Harvard-educated Prime
Minister  Lobsang Sangay  over these incidents. On October 11, Chinese
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin  accused the  members of the
so-called "Dalai clique" of not only failing to condemn the
self-immolations, but also publicizing  them to inspire  more
self-immolations. The Tibetan government-in-exile condemned these
remarks and said that China  should first put an end to its
"repression" in Tibet. It  also accused Chinese security personnel of
violating basic human rights by assaulting monks who attempted

7. No incidents have been reported from Tibet itself. The protest
movement has till now been confined to the Sichuan province.

 ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat,
Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For
Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For
China Studies. E-mail:   Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

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