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Tibetan Kidnaps Prison Guard

February 11, 2010

Authorities launch a manhunt and offer a major reward.
Radio Free Asia (RFA)
February 10, 2010

HONG KONG -- A Tibetan inmate of a jail in China's southwestern
Sichuan province has kidnapped a prison guard in retaliation for
harsh treatment in detention, sparking a region-wide manhunt and a
U.S. $14,000 reward.

"An arrest order has been issued," said an officer who answered the
phone at the Kangding county public security department in Sichuan's
Kardze [in Chinese, Ganzi] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

"[The reward] is 100,000 yuan (about U.S. $15,000). [The wanted man
is] Pasang," the officer said.

Sources in the region, under tight security since unrest flared in
Tibetan communities in March 2008, said the guard was taken hostage
Feb. 1 in the prefecture's Kardze county.

"One of the Tibetan inmates in the prison, known as Pasang, forcibly
took hostage one of the prison guards, known as Chang Kasong, and
broke out of the jail," one Kardze-based source said.

Pasang is a native of Payul county in Kardze, sources said. According
to one source, Pasang was detained along with several other men in
connection with a 2009 killing in Payul, but hadn't yet been tried.

Another source said a local Tibetan tipped off the police that the
fugitive was last seen fleeing toward Sichuan's Tonkor town from the
newly built prison.

Known for brutality

The breakout sparked a widespread manhunt with roadblocks and
hundreds of police manning checkpoints along the road to Tonkor.

Local sources said the kidnapped Chinese prison guard had a
reputation for treating Tibetan inmates harshly.

"[He] is one of meanest officers in charge," a second source said.

"He is notorious for his ill-treatment of Tibetan prisoners."

He said Kasong Chang would confiscate food packages and take money
intended for prisoners.

"He was very vicious in torturing Tibetan inmates, particularly those
Tibetans who took part in the 2008 uprising," the second source said.

County police have issued a request for cooperation from residents,
calling all households to help find Pasang, with a potential reward
of 100,000 yuan.

In March 2008, a protest against Chinese rule in and around the
Tibetan regional capital, Lhasa, sparked rioting throughout the
region in which Beijing said 22 people, mostly Chinese civilians, died.

Chinese authorities blamed Tibet's exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, and
his followers. The Tibetan government-in-exile in India says about
220 Tibetans died and nearly 7,000 were detained in the subsequent
regionwide crackdown.

Residents of Kardze, part of what Tibetans know as Kham, have earned
a reputation for speaking out against Chinese rule.

Original reporting in Mandarin by Qiao Long and by RFA's Tibetan
service. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Tibetan service
director: Jigme Ngapo. Written for the Web in English by Luisetta
Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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