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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Fifteen Tibetans arrested in Lithang after a peaceful protest

February 17, 2009

TCHRD PRESS RELEASE:
Dated: 16 February 2009

Following yesterday's solo protest by Lobsang Lhundup, a monk of Nekhor
Monastery in Lithang County, Kardze "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture"
('TAP') Sichuan Province, a group of 15 Tibetans from Lithang County
staged a similar peaceful protest this morning, according to confirmed
information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (TCHRD).

Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old, a younger brother of Lobsang Lhundup along
with fourteen other Tibetans staged a peaceful protest march at Lithang
main market square this morning at around 11:40 AM (Beijing Standard
Time) which lasted for around 2 hours, according to source. Sonam Tenpa
who led the peaceful protest was known to be carrying a huge portrait of
the Dalai Lama adorned with a traditional Tibetan scarf. The peaceful
Tibetan protesters took to the street of Lithang main market chanting
slogans, 'Long Live the Dalai Lama,' Independence for Tibet,' 'Swift
return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet' and ' No Losar (Tibetan New Year)
celebration this year,' sources described.

According to eyewitnesses accounts from the site of the demonstration,
"all the Tibetan protesters were brutally beaten, manhandled and
forcibly loaded into military trucks by the Chinese Public Security
Bureau (PSB) and People's Armed Police (PAP) forces that many were badly
bruised and injured with blood dripping from their nose, head and arms."

The identities of all those detained are; Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old,
Jampa Thokmey, 30, Gelek Kunga, 26, Lobsang Tenzin 23, Lobsang Phendey,
37, Jampa Yonten, 30, Sanggey, 29, Jampa Tsering, 28, Lobsang Wangchuk,
30, Lobsang Tashi, 21, Gendun Choephel, 30, Dargye, 37, Gedhun, 29,
Jampa, 40 and Amdo Gyaltsen, 41. All the detainees were known to be from
nomadic families who have shifted their residences from different
villages to Lithang Town.

According to source, "two more groups of Tibetan people- a few Tibetans
close to Ronggye A'drak who was arrested and sentenced in 2007 and a few
other local Tibetan residents of Lithang- were also detained by PSB and
PAP forces following their protest demonstration. The current
whereabouts and their condition could not be ascertained at the moment.
More troops were deployed around Lithang following yesterday's protest
by a Tibetan monk.

TCHRD condemns in strongest terms the Chinese security forces' brutal
use of force on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators and calls upon the
Chinese authorities to release the fifteen Tibetans who have been
arrested and detained solely for exercising their fundamental human
rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),
Constitution and many other international covenants and treaties that
China is party to. The government of the People's Republic of China
should immediately locate the whereabouts of the detainees and should
guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological
integrity of the detainees.

The authorities should ensure that detainees are not subjected to
further ill treatment in the detention centre as they were subjected to
in broad daylight at the market square. The Centre deems the case as an
outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet.
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