Two Tibetan women, O’dho and Apha Bhomo, both in their late 50’s and residents of Othok Village, Nyagchuka County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture “TAP” Sichuan Province, were arrested on 19 July 2007 by the Nyagchuka County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials on alleged ‘crime’ of instigating people to join their call for Trulku Tenzin Delek’s release, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). Both women are currently detained at Nyagchuka County PSB Detention Centre and authorities are known to have denied visitation right to their relatives. O’dho, a mother of nine children, was born in Sholong Township, Nyagchuka County, Kardze “TAP”, Sichuan Province. In addition, it was learnt that both O’dho’s sons, Kalsang Sungrab and Tenzin Tsoknyi were barred from attending their respective schools. Tenzin Tsoknyi who was studying at a private school in Lithang County was barred from attending the school and authorities even put restriction on their movement.
The protests were sparked after reception ceremony at Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchup Choeling Monastery was interrupted by Chinese officials objecting to placing a portrait of Trulku Tenzin Delek on to the throne of a newly constructed assembly prayer hall (Tib: Dhukhang). The monastery was founded by Trulku Tenzin Delek in 1987 and named Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchup Choeling by late Panchen Lama. It was reported that a large number of general public present during the ceremony have exhibited a clear sign of disapproval of authorities’ decree and highhandedness in handling the matter.
In the aftermath of the incident, a huge public protest by the local Tibetan people was held while some went to lodge their complaint to the higher authorities in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, while other group of Tibetans from Nyagchuka County who went to lodge a similar complaint regarding authorities highhandedness in dealing with the matter were known to have been detained by Nyagchuka PSB officials. O’dho and Apha Bhomo, like other locals of Lithang and surrounding areas are ardent supporters of Trulku Tenzin Delek and called upon the authorities that Trulku, was wrongly convicted and is innocent.
The current situation in Lithang and other surrounding areas are reeling under high tension following recent spate of public protests. The authorities are known to be taking no chances by keeping constant surveillance on any suspects. The recent cases of arbitrary arrest and detention were recorded from the area highlighting a clear violation of fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people.
TCHRD expresses its deepest concerns at the recent series of arbitrary arrest and detention of Tibetans in Lithang area for exercising their fundamental human rights in peaceful and non-violence means. The Centre calls for the immediate and unconditional release of O’dho and Apha Bhomo arbitrarily detained solely for having participated in peaceful demonstrations, during which opinions were expressed peacefully and the readmission of O’dho’s children to their respected schools and also to lift the ban on their movement.
TCHRD calls upon the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop the practice of arbitrary arrest and 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.
TCHRD once again calls upon the PRC government to give Trulku Tenzin Delek a free and fair re-trial as per the international standard legal norms and practices. The Centre believes that Trulku is innocent and was wrongly implicated in the bombing incidents and urges the Chinese authorities to ascertain his whereabouts, well-being and release him unconditionally.