A Tibetan youth who was detained for staging a peaceful solo protest against repressive Chinese rule has finally been identified as 17-year-old Tibetan nomad youth called Lobsang Thubten, or ‘Thubpe’ as he is affectionately called by friends and family.
Lobsang Thubten’s identity remained unknown since his arbitrary detention on 18 August 2015 in Lithang ( Ch: Litang) County, Kardze(Ch:Ganzi) Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
At about 9.40 am on 18 August, Lobsang Thubten stood outside a 110 police station (110 is the emergency phone number used for emergencies related to police, ambulance, fire extinguisher, etc.) carrying a large thangka painting of the Dalai Lama, and shouted aloud: “Tibet needs freedom. His Holiness the Dalai Lama should be invited to Tibet”. The site of protest is located at a place called Trungtrung Karmo in Lithang County.
Lobsang Thubten was immediately detained by local police and taken to Lithang County Detention Centre where he continues to be detained, interrogated and tortured.
A source with close contacts in Lithang told TCHRD, “Soon after [Thubpe’s] arrest, the Chinese authorities intensified restrictions in Lithang by deploying countless spies, causing the espionage groups to become more visible and the security forces more ruthless in the whole region of Lithang.”
Recent photographs obtained by TCHRD show rows of trucks and combat vehicles manned by People’s Armed Police force in Lithang County. Restriction has always been severe in Lithang owing to frequent protests by local Tibetans against the Chinese government. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been one of the most high-profile Tibetan political prisoners until his mysterious death in a Chinese prison early last month. Another high-profile political prisoner Ronggye A’drak who was released recently after completing his prison sentence of eight years hails from Lithang.
Lobsang Thubten, son of Mr Jephak Meme and Mrs Tenlo, belongs to Thurruk Nomadic Camp no. 1 of Ponkor (Ch:Benge) in Yonru township. He family consists of 11 members including his parents and siblings. Thubpe had studied Tibetan Buddhism at Lithang Monastery.