(TibetanReview.net, Sep02’21) – After 59 monks and laypeople over Aug 22-24, Chinese police have arrested 53 more Tibetans in a township in the historically Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in Sichuan Province mostly for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, according to several Tibet campaign, monitoring and online media reports Sep 1.
The exact number varies according to different reports; but those arrested from Aug 21 to 29 so far in Dza Wonpo Township of Dzachuka area, Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) County, now totals up to 113.
The report said Chinese authorities carried out house-to-house searches and checked mobile phones of Tibetan to look for, among other things, pictures of the Dalai Lama and whether they had shared online such and other information that were considered to be separatist.
“They were looking for pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for any messages that may have been shared on their cell phones with people outside Tibet,” the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Sep 1 quoted a source in India with local contacts as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Almost all the Tibetans taken into custody in the recent raids were arrested for possessing photos of the Dalai Lama or for sharing messages and information with contacts outside Chinese-controlled areas, while others were arrested for “discussing social issues in the community,” he has said.
Those arrested were stated to include monks as well as laymen and laywomen.
Meanwhile, all monks above 18 years of age of the local Wonpo Monastery had been ordered to report to the local law enforcement office from Aug 31 in batches of 20 each day to make clear they were innocent of ‘illegal’ activities, said Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Sep 1.
Each monk had to sign documents, promising not to engage in activities such as enshrining the Dalai Lama’s photo, maintaining contact with outsiders, and sharing information online.
The centre added that the number of those arrested totaled 113, of whom four – two laymen, a monk, and a woman – were believed to have been released on Aug 31.
According to London-based Free Tibet campaign group Sep 1, the current campaign began with the arrival of hundreds of Chinese soldiers in the township.