12/08/2020

China disappears more Tibetans in Diru as crackdown spreads

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Dawa Lhundup
Dawa Lhundup

Popular rejection of China’s compulsory flag-flying campaign has led to more detention and disappearances in Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

According to information received by TCHRD, four known Tibetans have been detained in the past weeks leading to their subsequent disappearances in police custody. Meanwhile, TCHRD sources report crackdown on Tibetans of Nagchu origin beyond the borders of TAR.

Earlier his month, two Tibetan monks who fled Nagchu to exile reported heightened repression on monks and nuns who leave their domicile in Nagchu to continue their higher studies in Tibetan Buddhism in Tibetans areas of Kham and Amdo outside TAR. In Lhasa, kms, Tibetans from Nagchu, particularly Diru, have been put under 24-hour surveillance.

In Lhasa, on 17 October 2013, Chinese police arrested two monks, Jampa Lekshay and Kelnam (probably a shortened form of Kelsang Namgyal), both 20 years old from Shugding Monastery in Yarding Village in Shamchu Township, Diru County. They were arrested on charges of ‘leaking state secrets’, a month after their arrival in Lhasa.

Authorities continue to detain and disappear Tibetans in Diru County as all communication channels remain blocked making it difficult to assess the exact number of arrests and disappearances, although sources with contacts in Nagchu believe the number is much higher than being reported. More than two weeks after police firing in Dathang Township, no information is available on the total number of the dead and the injured.

Kenam
Kenam

On 15 October 2013, a Tibetan man, Dawa Lhundup, 19, and a nun, Jampa, 20, were arrested on charges of ‘revealing state secrets through mobile phones and other means,’ according to sources. Both of them hail from Yarding Village in Shamchu Township, Diru.

Following their arrests, the heads of Yarding Village, Achung and Abu Namkha, along with other Tibetans visited the County government office to call for the release of Lhundup and Jampa. Local Tibetans appealed that Lhundup and Jampa had not committed any crimes and pled for their innocence. However, the appeal was rejected. As a result, no relative has been allowed to meet the detained so far. The authorities have failed to reveal any information on their whereabouts and their current medical condition. This information is critical to ascertain their well-being as beatings and torture are rampant during police interrogations and investigation in Tibet.

Kelsang with her daughters
Kelsang with her daughters

Sources also report that a Tibetan mother of three girls continue to remain in secret detention since her sudden detention on 11 October 2013 near the gate of Dejang guesthouse in Nagchu. Kelsang, a housewife and a devoted mother of three young girls, was detained for ‘keeping the pictures of Dalai Lama and Tibetan patriotic songs on her mobile phone.’ There are conflicting accounts on the exact details of her charges although multiple sources confirm she was indeed arrested and the pictures of the Dalai Lama was the major factor that led to her arrest. Kelsang’s relatives have approached relevant local authorities to request information about her whereabouts and medical condition. So far, the authorities have refused to divulge any information saying information would be given “after the case is resolved”. Kelsang hails from Village no. 1 located in Tsala Township in Diru County. Her daughters are Tashi Lhamo, 4, Minyal Lhamo, 9 and Sither Tsetso, 11.

Since September 2013, tension between Tibetans and Chinese authorities in Diru County has flared as repressive mass propaganda and surveillance campaigns are being implemented in extreme violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms of Tibetans. [3] In recent weeks, the crackdown on local protests against compulsory Chinese flag-flying campaign in Mowa Village in Diru County has not only spread to Lhasa but also Tibetans areas of Amdo and Kham outside TAR. Sources report that monks and nuns from Diru studying in the monasteries of Kham and Amdo are being detained and questioned.

New information on the detained Tibetan writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen aka Shogdril confirms that he was detained a few days after he publicly disagreed with speeches given by TAR deputy party secretary Wu Yingjie and TAR Party Committee member and Nagchu Prefecture Party Secretary Dothog on 28 September 2013 when more than 1000 Tibetans staged a 24-hour hunger strike in front of the County government office calling for the release of 40 Tibetans who had been detained for protesting the crackdown in Mowa Village. Sources told TCHRD that the young writer openly asked questions and cited Chinese legal provisions in criticising the violent crackdown in Diru County. Sources quote local eyewitnesses as saying that Wu and Dothog did not react negatively, instead they pretended to commiserate with him. His sudden arrest a few days later has caught everyone close to him by surprise.

Jampa
Jampa

Rather than acknowledging policy failures, the Chinese government continues to launch violent crackdown on Tibetans, who are being arrested and disappeared on spurious charges of ‘revealing state secrets,’ violating both the principles of the Chinese Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.