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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China arrests four Tibetans for protesting against festival to greet Olympics

July 31, 2008

For Immediate Release:
Contact Person: Tashi Choephel Jamatsang (English)
                 Jamphel Monlam (Tibetan & Chinese)
Phone Number: +91-1892-223363/225874
Email: office@tchrd.org / tcjamatsang@tchrd.org
Date: 30 July 2008

China arrests four Tibetans for protesting against festival to greet Olympics

Four Tibetan youth in Nangchen County in north eastern Qinghai
Province were arrested on 26 July 2008 by the Chinese Public Security
Bureau (PSB) officials for protesting against the Summer Festival
planned by the Chinese government to greet the upcoming Beijing
Olympic Games, according to confirmed information received by the
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

According to sources, the Chinese authorities of Nangchen County,
Jyekundo (Ch: Yushu) "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" ('TAP') in
Qinghai Province, have ordered all the township and villages
authorities under it's administration to prepare and bring out a
festive spectacle/performance during the planned summer festival in
Drokshog Township, Nangchen County, to greet the upcoming 2008
Beijing Olympic Games. The planned five days Summer Festival with
song and dance, and custom competition among villages at Drokshog
Township in Nangchen County was officially announced about two months
ago ordering compulsory participation from each family with rehearsal
date set on 25 July 2008. It was confirmed that lyrics of songs
prepared by each and every villages were thoroughly scrutinized by
the authorities to ensure that no songs contain lyric latent with
bereavement message of separation or message in praise of the exiled
Dalai Lama or Gyalwa Karmapa. The people were known to have shown
great displeasure over stern enforcement by the Chinese authorities.

On 26 July 2008, just three days before the actual commencement of
the Summer festival, four Tibetans from Nangchen County ? Asang
Bersatsang, 21 years old, Ngoesoe Konkyaptsang, 35 years old, Jamsang
and Gadho (age unknown) shouted slogans in the presence of a large
number of local government officials and people at the site of the
planned summer festival in Drokshog Township where people were
setting up tents and making preparation for the festival. The four
voiced their disapproval of the summer festival to greet the Olympic
Games by saying, "this is not the year to celebrate as Tibetans have
suffered untold repression under the Chinese regime, rather it is
time to mourn and offer prayers (for those died and imprisoned in
recent protests across Tibet)," "we want freedom" and "the Dalai Lama
should return to Tibet". After their protest, while distributing
pamphlets, the four requested Tibetans at the festival site to return
to their respective villages.  According to the source, Tibetans who
have gathered for the festival preparation at Drokshog Township
packed up their tents and gears in solidarity with the protesters
leaving only the government tents at the festival ground. The Chinese
authorities' planned summer festival at Drokshog Township in Nangchen
County, to greet the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, was not able to
go off because of mass pull out by people following protest by four Tibetans.

According to sources, in the same evening the four Tibetans were
arrested from Drokshog Township by Nangchen County Public Security
Bureau (PSB) officials and detained at Nangchen County PSB Detention
Centre. Following their detention, residents of Drokshog Township
wrote an appeal letter to the County authorities on 28 July calling
for their immediate release and stated that people will continue to
stand behind until their release from the Detention Centre. As of
now, there is no further information on the four arrested Tibetans.

The Centre expresses its serious concern at the continuous detention
of the Tibetans, whose only crime had been expression of their
opinion in a peaceful manner. The constitution and law of China
guarantees its citizen the right to freedom of expression and
opinion. In this context, TCHRD believes that the four Tibetans have
not violated the laws of land and had resorted to any action that
undermine the Chinese constitution. TCHRD therefore appeals to the
Chinese authorities to immediately release all the detained Tibetans
solely for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in her
Constitution and various international human rights covenants that
she is party to. TCHRD is particularly concerned about the level of
strict security and repression that has been imposed on the daily
lives of people in the name of pre-Olympic security sweep across
Tibet and other areas.

*****************END TEXT*****************

Tashi Choephel Jamatsang (Mr.)
Researcher
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
Top Floor Narthang Building
Gangchen Kyishong, Dharamsala
H.P. INDIA 176215
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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