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Tibetans Down Tools Some Areas, Pick Up Stones in Others

April 17, 2009

Agam's Gecko Blog
April 15, 2009

Tibetans living in the parts of their country
which have been annexed into China's Sichuan
province are continuing to refuse to carry out
the spring planting. While the world's media
seems mostly uninterested (as well as barred from
entry by the Chinese government), the London
Times offers a report from inside China.

"The farmers know that they will be the ones to
suffer if they do this," one source told The
Times. "But this is a way for them to show their unhappiness."

PLA troops have been sent into the region to
persuade the Tibetan farmers to work (beatings
have frequently followed refusal), to contribute
their own labour, and even to do the farming
themselves if necessary. The government has also
ordered local officials and Communist Party
members to get out in those fields and plant some crops.

The Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, Samdhong
Rinpoche, has appealed to the Tibetans in Kardze
"not to make this sacrifice and to stop their 'refusal to till the fields'."

A Buddhist monk, Phuntsok Rabten, was beaten to
death on March 25 in connection with the farmers'
strike in Drango County, and in several incidents
in the same county around twenty other Tibetans
have been badly beaten, with many requiring hospitalization.

A fuller account of the public parading of those
arrested is also offered in this report. On March
27, after the beatings and arrests of 11
supporters of the farm boycott in Da-do village,
these detainees were reportedly paraded around
the village on trucks the same day. They were
later seen in a hospital surrounded by the People's Armed Police.

This Times report from April 11 describes a
similar incident on April 5*, in which seven
trucks paraded farm boycott supporters through the streets of Kardze.

Each suspect was held by two police, who forced
them to bow their heads. A notice was hung around
the neck of each one, although a Tibetan source
said that he could not read them because he was
unfamiliar with Chinese characters.

*Update* : The same incident has been reported to
Phayul News with a few more details. The
prisoners had their heads shaved (yet more shades
of an earlier Cultural Revolution) with their
arms and legs shackled. Authorities announced
through loudspeakers that whoever protested the
Chinese government would face similar treatment.

Tibetans in Machu County (Kanlho T-"A"-P, Ch:
Gansu province) had been preparing for a popular
annual monastic ritual dance last week, which
normally attracts large numbers of devotees from
villages and monasteries in the region. The event
takes place every year on the fifteenth day of
the third Tibetan month, this year on April 9.

Local authorities recommended pouring more
Chinese troops into the region for the day, even
though Tibetan community leaders and senior monks
assured them that the religious event would not
cause any trouble, and they therefore objected to
the military reinforcements according to sources
for the Voice of Tibet radio service.

The Chinese security forces apparently lacked
anything to do, or were perhaps looking for some
entertainment that day, as they harassed local
people in the market and then ransacked a
billiard hall after finding a fox skin. [Wait a
minute, it's usually the authorities who pressure
Tibetans to wear their "picturesque skin and fur
costumes", even if they don't want to.] "The
security forces then beat up the owner of the
skin and his two companions who argued with them," according to the source.

The news of this violent incident spread quickly
in the area, and angry Tibetan townspeople
gathered and then clashed with around 100 Chinese soldiers.

"The Chinese soldiers hit batons at the Tibetans
who retaliated by hurling stones," he said,
adding that several people on both sides were
injured in the brawl. No arrest, however, has been reported.

The remaining six monks of Amdo's Lutsang
Monastery (Mangra County, Tsolho T-"A"-P, Ch:
Qinghai province) who had been detained since
their arrest for a candlelight procession and
vigil on February 25, have been released. Over a
hundred of the monks had been released on March
20 after nearly a month of severe patriotism
re-education. The last six, Jamyang Sherab,
Jamyang Ngodup, Jamyang Khenrab, Lungtok,
Thabkhey Gyatso and Kunsang were finally released
sometime around the end of last week.

Also reportedly released are Tashi Dhondup and
his younger brother Jinpa Gyatso. The younger man
had disappeared from Xining City, where he was
studying at a college, right around the uprising
anniversary on March 10. Tashi Dhondup was a
civil servant for the Chinese government. Public
Security Bureau forces barged into his home in
Sum-dho township, Mangra County, on March 12
without warrant or reason, seizing him as well as
his mobile phone and computer.

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