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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

In solidarity, Tibetans march with prayers in Tsolho

April 4, 2008

For Immediate Release:
Contact Person: Tashi Choephel (English) & Jamphel Monlam (Tibetan and
Chinese)


Upon witnessing a massive protests across the Tibetan plateau since 10
March, Tibetan people from all walks of life in Holkha Township,
Tsigorthang County (Xinghai Xian) Tsolho "TAP" Qinghai Province staged a
peaceful solidarity march and later held a prayer session for those who
lost their lives in the recent series of protests in Tibet on 25 March.
Following the peace march and prayer session at the township government
headquarters, three Tibetans were arbitrarily arrested in an early
morning raid in their home by the People's Armed Police (PAP) and Public
Security Bureau (PSB) officials, according to confirmed information
received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

With severe restrictions placed on communication lines by the Chinese
authorities, further information on the peaceful political dissents are
hard to come by, however, a few brave and courageous Tibetans despite
being aware of the grave risk have send first hand information
substantiated with pictures. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (TCHRD) received exclusive fresh pictures depicting peaceful
Tibetan solidarity march in Holkha Township on 25 March.

According to confirmed information received by the TCHRD, on 25 March,
hundreds of Tibetans from all walks of life including monks in Holkha
Township staged a peaceful solidarity march at the main market square of
the Township. The marchers were calling for an immediate end to the
brutal crackdown on the Tibetan protesters in Lhasa and series of
Tibetan protests in other parts of Tibet. In an unique display of their
support for those who have lost their lives and were injured in recent
protests, many marchers were seen carrying traditional prayer wheels in
their hands while reciting prayers (Mani Mantra) and others holding a
huge banner bearing text written in Tibetan and Chinese, that reads:
Peace, Democracy. We mourn and pray (mani mantra) for our people who
lost their lives. The marchers finally ended their procession at the
Holkha Township government headquarters where they held a sit-in protest
and recited prayer throughout the day. Although PAP and PSB officials
were seen in their combat gear during the entire peaceful solidarity
march, there was no report of arrest or detention of Tibetan marchers
that day.

However, in a sudden change of tactic, the authorities launched an early
morning raid in the homes of Tibetan suspected to be the leaders in the
previous day protest. The PAP and PSB officials arbitrarily arrested at
least three Tibetans including a female from their homes and took them
to an unknown location. Arrestees are: Rinbum Gyal and Tsewang both in
their late 20's and a female whose identity could not be ascertained at
the moment. A Public Notice imprint with the official stamp of PSB was
issued demanding protesters of the 'illegal' 25th March protest to
surrender voluntarily for leniency. At the same time, it warned
protesters of severe punishment who fails to surrender to the
authorities within three days deadline. There is no current information
on the number of people arrested and on the exact location of where the
three are detained.

According to sources, following their arrest in the early morning raid
on 26 March, more than 600 Tibetans from nine villages under Holkha
Township staged a peaceful sit-in protest in front of Township
government headquarters demanding immediate release of those arrested.
The protesters sat for the entire day demanding the authorities to heed
their demand.  After a daylong protest, the protesting crowd finally
dispersed after township authorities agreed to secure their releases.
The sources confirmed that protesters pledge to undertake a similar
protest at the government headquarters if authorities fail to deliver
their promise.

Although there was no report of protest by Tibetans on 27 March in
Holkha Township, yet at around 3 PM (Beijing Standard Time) hundreds of
additional PAP and PSB officials in military trucks were flooded into
the market place to check a further outburst of protest by Tibetans.
Military troops in several rows were seen patrolling the streets of
Holkha Township. Later that day, four people, Malle and Tsekyab Gyal
both male in their late 20's from Holkha Township and two Tibetan
businesswomen from other parts of Tibet were arrested by the security
forces for unknown reason. There is no information on the location of
their detention. The present atmosphere in Holkha Township is known to
be very tense with heavy presence of military forces.

TCHRD expresses its serious concern over the prevailing circumstances in
many parts of Tibetan inhabited areas and urges the Government of the
People's Republic of China to allow protesters to exercise their rights
to freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly, to refrain from
excessive use of force, and to ensure those arrested are not ill-treated
and are accorded due process in line with international standards.

For pictures of protest march kindly visit www.tchrd.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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