17 April 2008
Over one hundred Tibetans, including monks and lay people, have been arrested today for protesting by the Chinese security forces in Rebkong County (Ch: Tongren Xian), Malho (Ch: Huangnan) “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”, Qinghai Province, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
At around 11 A.M. (Beijing Standard Time) today, 22 monks from Rong Gonchen Monastery staged a peaceful demonstration in Rebkong County market calling for the release of three monks (Lobsang Dhondup, 20 years old; Drakpa, 28 years old; and Lobsang Dhondup, 30 years old), who had been arrested on 13 April 2008 for participating in a peace march on 16 March 2008.
A few minutes into the demonstration, Chinese armed security forces arrested the demonstrating monks. When news of the monks’ arrest reached Rong Gonchen Monastery, 80 monks marched to the County market and called for the release of the 22 monks arrested this morning. As the ordinary people in the market also joined the monks in their demonstration, the group became large and very loud.
Consequently additional contingents of security forces arrived at the County market to quell the demonstrators. When the situation became extremely tense, former chief of Rong Gonchen Monastery, 80-year-old Alak Khasutsang, arrived at the market to intervene and try to diffuse the tension between the demonstrators and the security forces. However, the Chinese security forces started to severely beat every one at the scene irrespective of age or status. Over 80 Tibetans, including monks and lay people, were arrested and taken away to the County Public Security Bureau Detention Centre.
At the time TCHRD received this information, a large number of Chinese security forces have been deployed at Rong Gonchen Monastery, shutting down the monastery for outside visitors as well as restricting monks of the monastery from leaving.