(TibetanReview.net, Jan08’20) – More than 30 Tibetans were detained under harsh conditions for more than 20 days in Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) County of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in a general Chinese crackdown after two small protests in a township on Nov 7 and Nov 21, 2019 led to the arrest of a total of eight Tibetans. Those detained in the crackdown were accused of keeping images of the Dalai Lama at home, having contacts with Tibetans outside the country, or being uncooperative towards Chinese officials’ drive to enforce loyalty to the Communist Party of China.
Seven of the eight Tibetans arrested after the Nov 7 and 21 protests are still in jail.
The more than 30 detainees, which included monks and laypeople belonging to Dza Wonpo Township, were held under harsh conditions from around Nov 21 to Dec 12 with only tsampa (roasted barley flour) to eat.
During the period of the crackdown, the monks at Dza Wonpo Monastery were forced to attend Communist Party ideological ‘education’ sessions every day, which lasted more than two weeks.
The crackdown was carried out by Chinese riot police who arrived in convoys in Wonpo (Wenbo) Township in the lower Dzachukha region of Sershul after the No 21 protest. They searched Tibetan residents’ homes, checked their cell phones, and carried out intimating marches and drills.
The Nov 7 protest involved four Tibetan monks who scattered leaflets calling for freedom, human rights, protection of locals’ rights, and an end to intrusive political campaigns in the courtyard of the administrative office in Dza Wonpo Village of Dza Mey Township.
All the four monks – Kunsal, 20; Tsultrim, 18; Tamey, 18; and Soeta, 18, belonging to Dza Wonpo Ganden Shedrub Monastery – were arrested. Also arrested later on was stated to be the monks’ religious instructor Shergyam Yang, a teacher at the monastery. One more monk, identified as Nyime and brother of Choegyal (mentioned below), was also stated to have been taken away on Nov 18 for posting online expressions of support for those who had been arrested.
Later on Nov 21, two Tibetan youths, named simply as Yonten and Choegyal, were held after they scattered leaflets calling for Tibet’s independence in the courtyard of Chinese government and police offices in Dza-Mey Township. They were reported to have posted on the WeChat social media platform two short videos with a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a background song in praise of him, as well as pictures of themselves and their hand-made leaflets in red ink.
The Nov 7 protest was stated to have taken place after a touring group of Chinese officials forced resettled Tibetan nomads to put up pictures of Chinese national leaders and praise China’s ruling Communist Party in public speeches which they filmed and distributed to the Chinese media.
Except for Shergyam Yang, who was released after 11 days, the remaining seven arrested in the aftermath of the Nov 7 and 21 protests continue to be in detention. (Sources: savetibet.org, rfa.org, Tibet.net, Jan 6-7, 2020, and others)