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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetans Risk Lone Protests

July 31, 2009


Chinese security forces fail to prevent recurring demonstrations
protesting China's rule in Tibet.


A Chinese policeman stands guard in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa,
June 20, 2008.

KATHMANDU—Two Tibetans recently staged separate protests against Chinese
rule in Tibet, defying security crackdowns and braving the
near-certainty of harsh treatment in detention, Tibetan sources said.

Sporadic demonstrations, both by individuals and by small groups, have
continued in the region for more than a year following widespread unrest
that began in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March 2008 and spread to
Tibetan-populated areas of China.

Protests are quickly dispersed by Chinese security forces, with detained
protesters often beaten, sometimes severely, according to reports.

“On June 28, a young Tibetan, a student at the Guru Teacher Training
School in Dzogong [county, of the Chamdo prefecture of the Tibet
Autonomous Region] was detained for protesting in Chamdo city,” said a
Tibetan man now living in Canada, citing area contacts.

The student, Lobsang Nyendrak, 18, had walked to town with a friend
earlier in the day, the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Nyendrak then urged his friend to return alone to the school, saying he
had “other business” to attend to.

When his friend left, the source said, Nyendrak pulled out a hand-made
banner along with a cloth bearing the colors of the banned Tibetan
national flag. He then walked through the the local market, calling out
“Tibet is independent!” and “China quit Tibet!”

“He walked straight toward the police station in Chamdo, calling on
Tibetans to ‘rise up’ behind him,” the source said.

Nyendrak was then immediately detained, according to witnesses.

Stadium protest

When fellow students learned next day that Nyendrak was being held, six
of them went to Chamdo to plead for his release, the source said.

Turned away by police, the students returned to the school and began to
organize a wider protest, but the school’s principal blocked their plans.

Then, on July 17, a man named Yonten Gyatso—aged about 40 and a native
of Dege in Kham—staged a solitary protest in a Chamdo sports stadium,
said the source.

“He ran a complete circuit of the stadium while displaying fliers,” the
man said. “The people who were gathered there cheered him on, and there
was some commotion. In the fliers, the man gave his name and called on
others to protest for the cause of Tibet.”

Achi Dolma, a Tibetan woman living in New York, confirmed the account,
also citing sources in Chamdo.

“A convoy of police vehicles rushed to the scene with sirens blaring,”
Dolma said.

“A melee ensued, with Tibetans weeping and people running in all
directions,” she continued. “The protester managed to escape in the

“Afterward, security was strengthened in Chamdo on the roads nearby, and
police were stationed all over.”

The protester was finally detained by police on July 21, she added.

Reached for comment on July 22, local police confirmed there had
recently been “some incidents” in Chamdo.

“The persons responsible were not locals, but came from outside the
area,” a police spokesman said, adding that one person had been detained
the night before and that another, “a student from Tsawa Dzogong,” was
already being held.

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