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Aggressive anti-Dalai Lama campaign in Kham; imminent food shortages feared as result of security sweep

April 20, 2008

ICT report, April 17, 2008

An aggressive anti-Dalai Lama campaign has been stepped up in the Kardze
(Chinese: Ganzi) area of Sichuan province (the Tibetan area of Kham) and
further reports have reached ICT of the crackdown and suppression of
protests there. In some rural areas of Kham, there are fears for the
year's harvest as the security sweep has left farming land untended,
endangering the year's crop. The authorities have threatened to destroy
Tongkor monastery near Kardze town unless local monks return after
protests on April 3, in which more than ten Tibetans were shot dead.

There is still a heavy troop presence in Kardze town, Kardze Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture, a month on from the suppression of peaceful
protests there on March 18. The protests began with a Tibetan man,
Sangpo, shouting slogans, who was joined by a crowd of around 100
people. An eyewitness said: "Extra security forces had arrived in Kardze
in previous days to bolster security, and they confronted the
protestors. They threatened to shoot unless the protestors dispersed,
and after that one section of the crowd broke away and obeyed the order.
The protestors remained entirely peaceful, not even a stone was thrown.
Police moved in on the remainder, beating them with clubs, and arrested
at least 12 of them. They beat people savagely, aiming at the head, and
it is possible that one or two may have been killed or mortally wounded
on the spot, but no-one knows exactly."

Following the incident, and in the past few weeks, soldiers have been
posted at different intersections of Kardze town and at nearby
monasteries, restricting the movement of local people and confining
monks to the monasteries. Local officials told people in the town that a
new political education campaign was being launched to denounce the
Dalai Lama and 'splittist forces', and that anyone with children
attending schools run by the exile government in India or Nepal would
have to bring them home. According to one Tibetan source, three monks
from one local monastery, Dugu Gonpa, committed suicide, in an act that
may have been in protest against the crackdown and subsequent pressure
to denounce the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia reported that four people were
killed during suppression of the protest in Kardze town, including
Ngo-ga and 50-year old monk Jamyang Jampel. Also according to RFA, the
arrested included Tseten Phuntsok (former chantmaster of Kandze
monastery), Chime Gonpo, Pema Dechen, Gonpo, Shao Mimi (a woman aged
about 40, wounded in the protest), Tashi Pelden, Loyang, Tsering Dorje
and Sangpo.

On April 12, the authorities gathered together senior religious figures
and others from all 18 counties in Kardze for meetings, where everyone
present was instructed to sign a document opposing the Dalai Lama. The
authorities issued the order that from April 13 onwards, a new campaign
of 'patriotic education' directed against the 'Dalai clique' would be
instituted in the first group of 43 monasteries in the prefecture.

Kardze county has been the site of more political imprisonment of
Tibetans than any other county outside the Tibet Autonomous Region since
1987, according to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Political Prisoner Database. The People's Armed Police have used lethal
force in three adjoining Kardze Tibetan Autonomous counties in a period
of less than three weeks, according to the CECC (

Food shortage threatened due to security sweep in Kham and the situation
at Tongkor

In some areas of rural Kham, there are fears for the year's harvest as
protests and crackdown have coincided with the critical sowing season. A
source from the Tongkor area of Kham, said last week: "The sowing season
has just started but today the agricultural fields are completely
deserted and empty. You see only Chinese army roaming around and
searching the houses. Except the very old and very young ones, all the
monks and all able lay people (farmers) from the surrounding villages
have left their homes and gone to places high up in the mountains and
forest areas." The same source said that if sowing could not be carried
out in time, there is a severe risk that the local community will not
have enough to eat.

On April 3, troops fired upon protestors from Tongkor (Chinese: Donggu)
monastery 60 kilometers from Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) town, killing at
least ten to 15 people. (ICT report, The protests
appeared to have been sparked by the arrival of an official work team to
carry out patriotic education in the monastery. After the shooting,
about 20 seriously injured people were taken to a local hospital under
armed guard. This hospital is currently surrounded by troops and
according to a report received a few days ago, no visitors are
permitted. The local authorities announced a reward of thousands of yuan
to anyone who gives information about those who are leaking out the news
of the protests and their suppression to the outside world.

The Tibetans who died have been named as follows: Lobsang Rinchen, 20,
male; Thupten Zamden, 27, male; Phurbhu Delek, 30, male;Tsering Kyi, 23,
female; Telo, 32, female; Sangmo, 34, female; Druklang Tso, 34, female;
Tsering Yangzom, late twenties, female; Tsering Lhamo, mid twenties,
female; and an unidentified boy in his teens.

Many monks fled from the monastery and were too frightened to return,
according to reports received by ICT. According to two reports received
from the region, the authorities issued a warning that they would
destroy Tongkor monastery if the monks did not return. The monastery is
still surrounded by armed troops and locals are deeply concerned about
its preservation. Tongkor monastery contains ancient thangkas and other
precious religious artefacts that the monastic and lay community managed
to preserve throughout the Cultural Revolution. A Tibetan source with
close connections in the area told ICT: "Tongkor Monastery is a famous
monastery with a long history. Gold statues of Buddha, Thangkha [Tibetan
religious] paintings and other valuables survived the disaster in the
'Cultural Revolution', but we worry very much whether they can survive
this disaster now."
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