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Scores of Tibetans arrested for peaceful protest in Lhasa

March 13, 2008

11 March 2008

Scores of Tibetans led by monks from Drepung and Sera Monastery were
known to have been arrested for staging peaceful pro-Tibet protests in
the Tibetan Capital, Lhasa, yesterday coinciding with the 49th
anniversary of the 1959 People's Uprising against Chinese occupation
of Tibet, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan
Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

According to sources within Tibet, about three hundred monks from
Drepung Monastery, located on the outskirts of the capital, attempted
to start a planned peaceful protest march yesterday towards Barkhor
Street, Lhasa. However, they were obstructed from proceeding with
their peaceful march by a large number of Chinese armed police before
reaching Lhasa. Few monks from the group suspected to be the
ringleaders were believed to be arrested by Public Security Bureau
(PSB) officials.

In a similar incident yesterday, a group of around ten people
including both monks and lay people led a peaceful pro-Tibet march
from Tsuklakhang Temple by raising pro-independence slogans,
distributing pamphlets and raising banned Tibetan national flags at
the Barkhor Street in Lhasa. They were arrested immediately by the
stationed Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials following a brief
protest march on Barkhor Street - one of the busiest market areas
around the city.  The arrested Tibetans were reportedly beaten
severely and manhandled by the PSB officials. Moreover, the shops and
vendors around Barkhor Street were ordered to close and pack away.
The identities of those arrested were not able to be ascertained at
the moment but according to a sources within Tibet, the detained monks
were said to be visiting student monks of Drepung and Sera
Monasteries, mainly from the Amdo region of Tibet. Additional
contingents of armed forces were deployed to the area to issue an
explicit warning to people against undertaking further protest as well
as to control and monitor the activities of the people.  The Centre
will continue to monitor the situation inside Tibet and will report
more updates as and when information surface.

In yet another incident yesterday, a protest was also reported from
the traditional Tibetan area of Amdo in Mangra County, Tsolho (Ch:
Hainan) 'Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture' ("TAP") Qinghai Province.
About 137 monks from Lhutsang Monastery in Mangra County, Tsolho "TAP"
and 215 laypersons from the area were barred by the Mangra County
People's Armed Police (PAP) forces when they converged outside the
County Assembly Hall where a government sponsored show was going on.
Sensing a protest by the Tibetans, the show was forced to discontinue.
Later monks and laypeople started shouting slogans  "Long live Dalai
Lama" and "The Dalai Lama should return to Tibet". At the moment there
is no report of people having been arrested from the area, although,
the concerned authorities are known to be investigating those involved
in the protest.

The Chairman of the government of "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR"),
Jampa Phuntsog, on the sidelines of 11th National People's Congress
confirmed the incidences to have taken place in a report released by
the Associated Press.

The Chinese authorities have already tightened their grip on the
activities of the Tibetan people inside Tibet preceding the Beijing
Olympics. Earlier the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management
of Social Security in order to intensify efforts to preserve social
order ahead of the Beijing Olympics, issued orders to eliminate
conflicts, chaos, and other activities concerning social order between
March and September. The mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party,
the People's Daily, reported, "We should make concerted efforts to
properly resolve outstanding problems affecting social harmony and

The Centre deems the case as an outright clamp down on the freedom of
opinion and expression and assembly in Tibet in the name of
maintaining stability and social order.

Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right which is a
prerequisite to the enjoyment of all human rights. Article 35 of the
Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) guarantees
"freedom of expression, of the press, of assembly, of association, of
procession and of demonstration." Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights proclaims: 'Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold
opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers'.

TCHRD is gravely concerned about the fate of those Tibetans who were
detained yesterday and would like to seek immediate intervention by
governments and the international community. Since their activities
constitute nothing more than a peaceful expression of their opinion,
thought and exercise of their basic human rights, TCHRD calls upon the
Chinese authorities to release them unconditionally.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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