(TibetanReview.net, May15, 2014) – China had launched a large-scale, violent crackdown in early March as Tibetan protests against environmentally destructive mining took place in yet another county of Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) May 13. Some 500 paramilitary People’s Armed Police troops were brought in and a number of Tibetans beaten, with 30 being detained, in Lathok Township of the prefecture’s Chamdo County, the report said.
News of the developments reached the outside world late due to China’s severe restrictions on communication channels, the report cited a local source as saying. Meanwhile, protests in neighbouring Dzogang (Zuogang) County’s Tongbar Town, which had begun some two months ago, were reported to be continuing, having intensified after a man stabbed himself and jumped from a building to his death on May 7 over the mining issue.
On May 10, over 300 Tongbar Tibetans staged a protest at the town centre, the report said. While no arrest appears to have been made, the authorities were said to be imposing severe restrictions on communication lines, with the local Tibetans being warned of severe consequence if they send information about the development and situation to outside contacts.
In the case of Lathok, China began prospecting for mineral ore as early as 2006. Despite protests from local Tibetans, the Chinese continued to develop mining sites and to build a road to them. As the local authorities kept ignoring the protests, with threats of violent punishment for those who resist the projects, a group of local Tibetans sent petitions to China’s central government as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region government on Mar 5 this year. The local authorities responded by detaining 30 Tibetans from the township, including those who had sent the petitions. Two of them who had sent a petition to Beijing were put on a near-starvation diet for some 20 days while local residents were warned against making any attempt to stop the mine work. The report did not say what the petitions complained about.
Also, on Mar 8, a force of some 500 People’s Armed Police troops arrived at Lathok and began intimidating the local Tibetans, the report added.