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China arrests three nephews of Ronggye A’drak in Lithang

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information from reliable sources that three more Tibetans were arrested from Yonru Kharshul Village, Ponkar Township, Lithang County in connection with Ronggye A’drak’s case following continued mass protest by his supporters.

In the aftermath of Ronggye A’drak’s arrest, severe restrictions were imposed in Lithang and surrounding areas for the fear of massive popular uprising. Supporters of Ronggye A’drak are known to have stationed outside the County Public Security Bureau (PSB) Office for weeks after his arrest on 1 August 2007 demanding his early release. In an attempt to intimidate the supporters of Ronggye A’drak, the Lithang County government sent additional contingents of People’s Armed Police (PAP) as a reinforcement to monitor and restrict the activities of his supporters.

According to the source, “Lithang PSB officers along with PAP forces as per the order given by the higher authorities, arrested a few leading supporters who have been demanding the release of Ronggye A’drak for the past few weeks.”

“On the evening of 21 August 2007, a large number of Lithang PSB and PAP forces suddenly stormed into A’drak’s native village, Yonru Kharshul Village, Lithang County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (TAP), Sichuan Province and arrested three of his nephews. It was confirmed by the source that the Lithang PSB and PAP forces first stomped into the house of A’drak and enquired about Adruk Lopoe, a monk of Lithang Monastery who has been leading the call for his release. In the absence of Adruk Lopoe, the PSB officers and PAP forces arbitrarily detained two of his brothers, Adruk Gyatso and Adruk Nyima and forcibly took them to the local PSB Detention Centre. The PSB officers and PAP forces even ransacked their entire house looking for any evidence that they could charge them with.”

The source further told the Centre that “Adruk Lopoe after learning about the arrest of his two brothers went to Lithang County PSB Office after a few hours and told the officer that “I am the person you are looking for and I demand the release of my two brothers”. However, the PSB officers arrested him without complying with his demand.

TCHRD is highly concerned about the well being of Ronggye A’drak and three of his nephews who are all being arbitrarily detained by the Lithang County PSB officers and PAP forces. Torture being endemic and a regular feature in the Chinese administered prisons and detention centres, the Centre expresses its deepest concern about the well-being and safety of Ronggye A’drak and three of his nephews.

As the present situation in Lithang is still known to be tense after the authorities’ arrest of Ronggye A’drak and three of his nephews, the Centre calls upon the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop the practice of arbitrary detention and urgently seeks the intervention and support of the international civil society groups and the relevant UN mandates on promotion and protection of human rights in securing their early release. The Centre deems the case as an outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion and expression and deprivation of liberty by arbitrary detention.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right which is prerequisite to the enjoyment of all human rights. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Article 35 of the Constitution of the PRC guarantees “freedom of expression, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”.

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