Fifteen Tibetans arrested in Lithang after a peaceful protest

Following yesterday’s solo protest by Lobsang Lhundup, a monk of Nekhor Monastery in Lithang County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) Sichuan Province, a group of 15 Tibetans from Lithang County staged a similar peaceful protest this morning, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old, a younger brother of Lobsang Lhundup along with fourteen other Tibetans staged a peaceful protest march at Lithang main market square this morning at around 11:40 AM (Beijing Standard Time) which lasted for around 2 hours, according to source. Sonam Tenpa who led the peaceful protest was known to be carrying a huge portrait of the Dalai Lama adorned with a traditional Tibetan scarf. The peaceful Tibetan protesters took to the street of Lithang main market chanting slogans, ‘Long Live the Dalai Lama,’ Independence for Tibet,’ ‘Swift return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet’ and ‘ No Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebration this year,’ sources described.

According to eyewitnesses accounts from the site of the demonstration, “all the Tibetan protesters were brutally beaten, manhandled and forcibly loaded into military trucks by the Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) forces that many were badly bruised and injured with blood dripping from their nose, head and arms.”

The identities of all those detained are; Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old, Jampa Thokmey, 30, Gelek Kunga, 26, Lobsang Tenzin 23, Lobsang Phendey, 37, Jampa Yonten, 30, Sanggey, 29, Jampa Tsering, 28, Lobsang Wangchuk, 30, Lobsang Tashi, 21, Gendun Choephel, 30, Dargye, 37, Gedhun, 29, Jampa, 40 and Amdo Gyaltsen, 41. All the detainees were known to be from nomadic families who have shifted their residences from different villages to Lithang Town.

According to source, “two more groups of Tibetan people- a few Tibetans close to Ronggye A’drak who was arrested and sentenced in 2007 and a few other local Tibetan residents of Lithang- were also detained by PSB and PAP forces following their protest demonstration. The current whereabouts and their condition could not be ascertained at the moment. More troops were deployed around Lithang following yesterday’s protest by a Tibetan monk.

TCHRD condemns in strongest terms the Chinese security forces’ brutal use of force on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators and calls upon the Chinese authorities to release the fifteen Tibetans who have been arrested and detained solely for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Constitution and many other international covenants and treaties that China is party to. The government of the People’s Republic of China should immediately locate the whereabouts of the detainees and should guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees.

The authorities should ensure that detainees are not subjected to further ill treatment in the detention centre as they were subjected to in broad daylight at the market square. The Centre deems the case as an outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet.

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