A Tibetan man named Tashi Dhondup was detained incommunicado last Saturday after he staged a peaceful solo protest in Dzoege (Ch: Ruoergai) County in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
According to information received by TCHRD, on 19 December Tashi Dhondup, whose age remains unknown, walked up the main street of Dzoege County town, holding a huge portrait of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and wearing a Tibetan Buddhist flag. Video footage shows him walking briskly on the side of the main street, with the portrait of the Dalai Lama held high over his head, as the Buddhist flag fluttered behind his back. He was soon spotted by the Chinese security forces and taken away to an undisclosed location. His current condition and whereabouts remain unknown.
On 20 December, a day after Dhondup’s protest, his uncle Yeshe, aged 30, was picked up by police for questioning, according to media report. Dhondup’s uncle from his father’s side was from Soktsang Village in Dzoege.
Tashi Dhondup, whose nickname is Chebe, belongs to nomadic camp no 3 of Ponkya village in Thangkor (Ch: Tangke) Township in Dzoge County.
This is the first known solo protest in Dzoege County after a string of solo protests was witnessed in neighbouring Ngaba County. Recently, Chinese authorities imprisoned two solo protesters, after detaining many others whose status remain unknown months after their detention in Ngaba. Tashi Dhondup’s peaceful solo protest and his subsequent detention comes in the wake heightened monitoring and surveillance of potential protesters in Ngaba.
Dzoege County has witnessed numerous demonstrations against the Chinese authorities during the 2008 uprising and in recent years, when in September 2015, local police in Thangkor detained several Tibetans for attempting to reclaim the land taken from them by the government for development purposes five years ago. Elsewhere in Dzoege, police have cracked down on protests by local Tibetans against uranium mining. Early last year, Dzoege County government issued harsh measures to deter and criminalise self-immolation protests taking every man, woman and child hostage.