09/12/2019

China detains scores of nuns calling for the release of solo protester and critically injures three monks in Kardze Protests

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Tsering Tsomo, nun of Samtenling Nunnery
Tsering Tsomo, nun of Samtenling Nunnery

The Chinese security forces severely beat and then arrested a nun of SamtenLing Nunnery in Drango County, Kardze “Tibet Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) Sichuan Province, following her act of defiance by staging a peaceful solo protest in Drango County, by raising pro-Tibet slogans and distributing pamphlets calling for ‘the swift return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and “freedom in Tibet”, according to confirmed information received from reliable sources by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

On 8 June 2008, at around 9:00 AM (Beijing Standard Time), Tsering Tsomo, 27 years old nun of SamtenLing Nunnery a.k.a Watak Nunnery, originally from Chakra Village, Drango County (Ch: Luhuo Xian) Kardze “Tibet Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) staged a peaceful solo protest in Drango County by raising Pro-Tibet slogans and distributing pamphlets calling for “swift return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and “freedom in Tibet” among the people. After a short stint of her solo protest, Tsering Tsomo was known to have been surrounded by the security forces and was severely beaten and tortured by pounding her with iron rods, kicked and punched her indiscriminately. The county PSB officials later took her away to the county Detention Centre for further questioning. 

The news of Tsering Tsomo’s arrest and torture reached her nunnery. In gesture of solidarity and support calling for her release, at around 5:00 PM, more than two hundred nuns of SamtenLing Nunnery staged a peaceful demonstration and headed towards Drango County headquarters. Before reaching their destination, the security forces stopped the protesting nuns at a place known as Gogaythang from further proceeding with their protest. The security forces used brute force to stop protesters from moving forward. Besides indiscriminate kick and punch, even electric prod and iron rod were used on the peaceful demonstrators, severely injuring scores of them. Ten protesters were seriously injured and were known to have been taken to nearby hospital for treatment. Scores of protesters were detained by the security forces and took away in waiting military trucks to the County Detention Centre. According to source, the family members and relatives of those injured and hospitalized were not allowed to meet their love ones. There is no further information on the current condition of those injured and detained by the Chinese security forces. The Centre is highly concern about the safety of those injured and detained. The Centre has been vigilant on the recent series of protests, arrests, detentions, tortures and disappearance of Tibetans and will continue to monitor the situation particularly in Kardze “TAP” which has witnessed a series of peaceful protests and will update as and when more information surfaces from the area.

Yet in another incident, on 6 June 2008, three monks belonging to different monasteries in Drango County, Kardze “TAP” staged a peaceful protest in front of the county government headquarters, according to confirmed information received by the Centre. The three monks unidentified as Tsewang Dakpa, 22 years old from Jangtha Township, Drango County, Kardze “TAP”, Thupten Gyatso(age unknown) from Tawu County, Kardze “TAP” and Jangsem Nyima, 22 years old from Dzatoe County, Jyekundo (Ch: Yushu/Jiegu) “TAP” Qinghai Province staged a peaceful protest calling for the “quick return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and “Freedom in Tibet”. According to eyewitness accounts from the site of the demonstration, three monks were indiscriminately beaten with electric prod, kicked and punch by the Chinese Security forces that all three require urgent medical attention. Tsewang Dakpa in particular sustained multiple and severe injury from the torture that eyewitness recounted slight chances of his survival. They were known to have been critically injured and taken to Drango County hospital for treatment that day.

However, according to the latest information received by the Centre this morning, there has been rumor of Tsewang Dakpa’s death spreading in Drango County following indiscriminate beating suffered at the site of demonstration. However, it cannot be confirmed at the moment. Two other monks were known to have been in critical condition and were shifted to another hospital. There has been no information on their physical condition and current whereabouts following their hospitalization.

TCHRD condemns in strongest terms the Chinese security forces’ brutal use of force on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators. TCHRD also call upon the PRC government to release all those Tibetans 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 government of the PRC should ensure that they are not subjected to further ill treatment and torture which are common features in Chinese administered detention centres and prisons in Tibet.

TCHRD is highly concerned about the safety of those detained and critically injured by the security forces 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 clampdown 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 for their peaceful exercise of the fundamental human rights.