(TibetanReview.net, Aug27’21) – Chinese police have raided homes and a monastery in a traditionally Tibetan township in what is now part of China’s Sichuan province on Aug 22 and arrested a total of 59 Tibetans for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, said the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Aug 26.
Those arrested during the raid in Dza Wonpo Township of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture, were stated included 19 monks of the local Dza Wongpo Monastery, with the rest being laypeople.
They were stated to have been taken to the Sershul (Shiqu) County police station.
Three days after the raid, the police were reported to have ordered a meeting with attendance being made compulsory for all local residents aged 18 and above, with a warning of punishment of anyone failing to do so. At the meeting the Tibetans were warned against keeping any pictures of the Dalai Lama or to sharing any information over their cell phones, the report said, citing a Tibetan source with local contacts.
This was reported to have been followed by a second raid in the township to find out whether the Tibetans had heeded the warning.
A local old-age home was also stated to have been inspected on the pretext of cleaning the facility and it ended with the confiscation of a number of banned photos. The authorities were stated to have distributed to the residents of the facility pictures of President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders for display.
The initial raid was not without a previous warning. The report said that during meetings earlier this year in Dza Wonpo, Tibetans were forced to sign a document pledging not to keep or circulate photos of the Dalai Lama on pain of criminal prosecution and stoppage of state benefits.