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Two More Tibetans Flee

May 20, 2009

More than a year after a major Tibetan uprising
against Chinese rule, two more Tibetan monks escape arrest and reach India.
Radio Free Asia (RFA)
May 19, 2009

DELHI -- Two more Tibetans involved in protests
last year against Chinese rule in Tibet have
escaped to India, adding to the number who have
successfully fled the troubled region in recent weeks.

The two: a layman, Maday Gonpo, 41, and a monk,
Tsering Jigme, 24 -- arrived this week in the
Indian capital New Delhi en route to Dharamsala,
seat of the Tibetan government in exile.

Escaping separately after participating in a
protest in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi)
prefecture of China’s southwestern Sichuan
province, they had been sought by Chinese authorities for more than a year.

"As Tibetans in other regions rose up in protest,
we also launched a protest on March 18  in Kardze
calling for the long life of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama,” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader,
said Maday Gonpo, who helped to lead the demonstration.

"We began our protest at Tachu Do in the center
of Kardze town. After we had crossed two bridges,
five police vehicles and two army vehicles
arrived and attacked us. There were about 1,000
protesters, including about 15 who were leaders.”

"Of these, five were detained, while I and others
managed to escape. Two of my friends were wounded by gunfire," Gonpo said.

"There was no way I could go home, so I wandered
from place to place, mainly in the hills of
Nyagrong and other areas where nomads live. At
times, I had nothing to eat for two to three
days. I also fell ill with a fever,” he said.

Avoiding crackdown

Gonpo said that as he became better acquainted
with the nomads, they gave him food and let him
use their horses to avoid arrest. Some also
visited Kardze town to evaluate the situation there.

"But they told me that the Chinese there were
cracking down on Tibetans by shooting at them, so
there was no chance for me to go back," he said.

Tsering Jigme, a monk from the Tsi Sung monastery
in Kardze who arrived in Delhi with Maday Gonpo,
had also taken part in the March 18 protest and
been helped to survive in the hills for more than a year.

He declined to speak to a reporter here.

On May 7, 2008, Gonpo said, Kardze police issued
a notice calling for the arrest of Maday Gonpo
and Tsering Jigme, along with three other
Tibetans from the Kardze area, four Tibetans from
Draggo (in Chinese, Luhuo) county, and 27
Tibetans from Serthar (in Chinese, Serta) county.

"A reward of 10,000 to 20,000 yuan was offered
for anyone who could catch us," Gonpo said.

"We heard that this was announced on television
and that authorities also promised the award
would be increased this year," he added.

Much of Tibet has been closed to foreigners since
a peaceful demonstration last year in the Tibetan
capital, Lhasa, erupted into a riot that left at
least 22 dead, ignited protests in three
neighboring provinces, and prompted Beijing to
dramatically increase its troop presence.

The Tibetan government-in-exile in India says
about 220 Tibetans died and nearly 7,000 were
detained in the subsequent region-wide crackdown.

Original reporting by Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s
Tibetan service. Tibetan service director: Jigme
Ngapo. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in
English by Richard Finney. Edited for the Web by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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