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Two Tibetans arrested in Lithang after “Patriotic Education” Campaign

Jamyang TenzinIn the aftermath of massive “Patriotic Education” campaign launched by the Chinese authorities in Lithang area since the beginning of September this year, cases of arbitrary arrests and detention of Tibetans who openly defied and challenged the authorities for violating their rights have began to surface from the area.

According to confirm information, on 2 September 2007, the Chinese authorities summoned a meeting of the general public of Youru Kharshul and Kayta Villages in Lithang County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’), to receive political education telling Tibetans how the Chinese liberation of Tibet has empowered the Tibetan commoners and how Tibetans under the Chinese Communist Party’s patronage are leading a happy and content life.Adruk Kalgyam

However, not everyone agreed with that, Adruk Kalgyam, a Tibetan nomad from Youru Kharshul Village, stood up from the gathering and challenged the Chinese authorities by telling, “How can you say we are happy and content under the communist rule, when the tears of sorrow of the Tibetan people have not dried up yet. And when the Dalai Lama-who is savior of Tibetan people for this and next life-had to lead a life in exile and Panchen Lama continued to be under Chinese detention. In addition, Apho A’drak (Pet name used for Ronggye A’drak by his friends and relatives) and the likes were arrested for speaking their mind and their whereabouts still remain unknown.”

Adruk Kalgyam left the gathering by shouting slogans “May the Dalai Lama live for thousands of years and may the wishes of Apho A’drak and others be fulfilled.” On the next day, a group of Lithang County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers came to Youru Village and arbitrarily arrested Adruk Kalgyam from his resident without citing any reasons. There has been no information on the current fate and whereabouts of Adruk Kalgyam.

Adruk Kalgyam, a 26-year-old nomad was born to Adruk Wangdu (father) and Ronggye Tsewang (Mother) at Youru Kharshul Village, Lithang County, Kardze, ‘TAP’.

In a similar incident, on 3 October 2007, the Chinese authorities summoned abbot and monks of Youru Geydenling Monastery (a small branch monastery under the umbrella of Lithang Monastery), and conducted a ‘Patriotic education’. During the session, Jamyang Tenzin, a monk of the monastery, stood up and challenged the officials openly saying “The Chinese government’s proclamation of right to religious freedom enjoyed by the Tibetan people stands ghastly contradictory as we cannot place a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at our residence and monastery. The people of Lithang County including its’ nomads still continue to face livelihood problems although government boast of rapid development.” Jamyang Tenzin even raised the question on the arrest of Ronggye A’drak and other Tibetans and expressed his concern on their whereabouts. He later concluded by shouting, “May the Dalai Lama live for thousands of years.” Jamyang was however, arrested right away by the local PSB officials after the conclusion of the ‘Patriotic education’ session at the monastery. Jamyang Tenzin, a 33-year-old monk of Youru Geydenling Monastery was born to Thinley Tsering(father) and Tsering Dolma(mother) and was a native of Youru Sakhor Village, Lithang County, Kardze, ‘TAP’.

In the light of recent open public protests initiated by Ronggye A’drak in Lithang and subsequent arrests and detention of his supporters, the Chinese authorities have resorted to imposing restrictions and beefing up the security measures in Lithang and surrounding counties. The authorities have even summoned the leaders of townships and monasteries in and around Lithang to commence the Patriotic Education Campaign in the first week of September 2007, which will be carried out over a period of three months. On 15 September, Lobsang Phuntsok, a monk of Lithang Monastery was arrested following the “patriotic education” campaign and his friend Kunkhen was arrested by Lithang County PSB officials on 22 August for unknown reason.

The Chinese authorities under the banner of “Patriotic education” campaign in religious institutions across Tibet are violating the Tibetan people’s right to religious freedom and continues to detain and arrest those who speak their mind and wishes of the common people.

TCHRD is highly concerned about Adruk Kalgyam and Jamyang Tenzin and seeks the support of human rights groups and the international community in securing their early release unconditionally. The Centre deems the case as an outright clamp down on the freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet. Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human rights which is a prerequisite to the enjoyment of all human rights. Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) guarantees “freedom of expression, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.” Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims: ‘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’. The Centre calls upon the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, to intervene on their case and others who were earlier arrested in connection with Ronggye A’drak.

TCHRD also call upon the PRC government to release all political prisoners who have been arrested and detained for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in the UDHR, constitution and many other international covenants and treaties that she is party to. The Centre also calls upon the PRC to immediately put an end to “Patriotic Education” campaign across all religious institutions in Tibet and considers Adruk Kalgyam and Jamyang Tenzin’s call a genuine expression of local Tibetans’ concern and despair that continue to exist in Tibet as a result of China’s repressive policies. The PRC should immediately address these genuine concerns of local Tibetan people rather than tightening noose on the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights. The government of the PRC should ensure that they are not subjected to ill treatment and torture which are common features in Chinese administered detention centres and prisons in Tibet.

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