Ten known Tibetans have ‘disappeared’ after their arrests by the Chinese security officers in the aftermath of the bloody January 2012 crackdown on Tibetan protests at Drango (Ch: Luhuo) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
These arrests were made days after security officers fired on hundreds of unarmed Tibetan protesters outside the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) office on 23 January 2012 in Drango County. Two known Tibetans, Norpa Yonten (aged 48) and an unidentified son of Loyak Tsang household from Likhogma village, died on the spot while 36 known Tibetans sustained serious injuries in the police shooting. Some of the injured were shot in the arms, legs, and some still had bullets lodged in their stomach. TCHRD is still trying to obtain information on the current condition of those injured in the firing.
In the arrests that followed the violent clampdown of Tibetan protests, security officers fanned in and around the nomadic region of Drango looking for those who took part in the protests. Some Tibetans injured in the police firing had taken shelter in the nearby mountains, too afraid to seek medical treatment for fear of arrest.
On 9 February 2012, Chinese security officers visited Tibetan homes in the nomadic villages of Topolung, Gathag and Gyekong-gang and conducted random house-searches. The same day, security officers began firing at the house of Yeshi Rigsel (aged 40) and Yeshi Samdrup (aged 42); both brothers died on the spot. Rigsel was a monk at Drango Monastery. Their death by gunshots was reported in the Chinese government-owned Ganzi Daily News.
But the official Chinese daily did not report the injuries sustained by Sanglha, mother of Rigsel and Samdrup, and five minor children in their household. Sanglha (aged 70) was shot in her left arm, which was amputated later in a hospital. The injured children were also treated at the hospital.
Tsering Gyaltsen, a 40-yr-old monk at Drango Monastery, was arrested on 9 February and taken to an undisclosed location. His condition and whereabouts remain unknown.
Sources old TCHRD that many Tibetans were arrested in the month of February 2012 remain missing to this day. Those arrested include Shonu (aged 42), a monk at Drango Monastery; Gyaltsen (aged 32) from Yunyiwa village; and Sherkyam (aged 53), Peydor (aged 35), Gyekyap (aged 27), and Khendor (aged 23) from Norpa village. In the same month, some high-ranking monastic officials at Drango Monastery were also arrested. Tulku Lobsang Tenzin (aged 40), a reincarnated lama, and Geshe Tsewang Namgyal (aged 32), along with the monastery’s shop manager Thinlay (aged 42), and the accountant, Drapla (aged 31) were arrested at an internet café in Tridu (Chinese: Chengdu) city.
Around 2 March 2012, the local authorities held meetings and conducted ‘patriotic re-education’ campaigns at monasteries and villages in the area. The officials talked about legal provisions and warned the Tibetans of serious repercussions if they harmed the country’s stability. Sources said the officials’ attempts were clearly targeted at intimidating the Tibetans.
The situation in Drango remains tense as the local authorities have set up additional police checkpoints and security presence in the area has increased. Sources said attempts to make phone calls to the region failed.