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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."

Pamphlets calling for independence seen scattered in Derge

March 26, 2009

By Phurbu Thinlay
March 25, 2009

Dharamsala, March 25 -- Situation in a Tibetan
town in Kardze in Sichuan Province is said to be
tense after a large number of pamphlets calling
for Tibet’s independence were seen scattered all
over a main road of the town, a report on the
official website of the Tibet’s Government in exile said.

Present situation in Dzogchen township in Derge
(Ch:Dege) in Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
(TAP) is ‘critical’ after Tibetan people living
in the region distributed large number of Tibet
independence leaflets on the eve of an important
religious gathering on 22 March, the report cited
sources in the region as describing.

A large number of local Tibetans and pilgrims
gathered at Dzongchen Monastery to observe
Phurchen, an important day to undertake religious
activities, on 23 March, the report said.

On the eve of the gathering, leaflets calling for
Tibet independence, along with copies of Lungta,
a symbol of good luck, were seen scattered all
over the main road leading to the monastery; the report said.

Following the incident a tense situation has been
prevailing in the region, sources said.

In a separate incident in the morning of 22
March, a monk staged a lone protest shouting
slogans "long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama"
and “Tibet independence" in Lithang county (Ch:Litang) also in Kardze.

The monk was identified as 18-year-old Choekyong
Tsering from Lithang Monastery.

He was later severely beaten up after getting
nabbed by officials of the area's Public Security
Bureau. He is presently lodged in Lithang county
prison, the report said citing sources.

Traditionally, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) comes under
Kham Province, one of the three provinces of
Tibet. The region is known for its strong Tibetan
identity and has been at the center of dissent
for years. It saw some of the most aggressive protests last spring.

Anti-China unrest last year spread to the Tibetan
regions in three other provinces outside of the
Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) — Sichuan, Gansu
and Qinghai — and was the most sustained and
widespread Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed
March 10 revolt against Chinese rule in the
Himalayan region that sent the revered Tibetan
leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile.

Last week, Dharamsala-based Tibetan centre for
Human Rights and Democracy reported that Tibetans
in the Kardze region have led what it termed was,
“Farming Boycott Movement” to challenge the
“prevalent repressive policies being initiated
and implemented by the Chinese authorities against the Tibetans."

So far the centre reported arrest of four
Tibetans in connection with what appears to be a civil disobedience movement.

Meanwhile, the center said Chinese authorities
have issued a notice warning that "anyone who
refuses to do farming will face arrest and their land officially confiscated."

At present, situation in Kardze region is said to
be very tense as residents have shown no signs to
give in to government warning, TCHRD said in a press release on Monday.

"Streets were filled with posters declaring their
vow to boycott farming activities in the region," TCHRD said citing sources.

According to TCHRD, many of the Tibetan youths in
Kardze were arrested and detained by Chinese
authorities after taking part in anti-China
protests last year. “Even if people in Kardze
wishes to till the lands, there is hardly any
manpower left behind to do the farming work," the centre said in a statement.
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