Tibetan students in Machu County, Kanlho “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) in Gansu Province have staged a peaceful protest on 3 April 2010 against the Chinese government sacking their school heads, according to information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) from reliable sources.
The students of Machu Tibetan Nationality Middle School, in Machu County, Kanlho “TAP”, Gansu Province, led by senior students staged a peaceful protest in the afternoon of 3 April 2010. According to the source, the students were infuriated by Chinese authorities’ firing of the school’s headmaster, Kyabchen Dedrol and two of his Tibetan assistants; Do Re and Choekyong Tseten from their job last month following a pro-independence protest by students of the school in mid March this year and this had led to their latest protest. The Tibetan nationality Middle school reportedly comprises about 1,500 students.
Choekyong Tseten was known to have been secretly whisked away by Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials and there is no information on his current whereabouts. Following this, the students approached the concerned Chinese authorities in Machu County and submitted petitions seeking reinstatement of the three sacked school heads. The students asserted in their petition that they would stage further protest if their demands were not met by the authorities, and the latest protest could be a result of failure on the part of authorities to heed the call by students, according to the source. The students have vowed to carry on with more protests until fulfillment of their demand.
Over the past few weeks, a series of peaceful protests were carried out in Gansu Province particularly by students of the middle school and as of now there is no information available on the detention of any students or staff members of the school after the protest but it was said that school is completely cordoned off by armed police and students were confined to school compound. Students were also barred from contacting or meeting with the outsiders.
Language teacher arrested in Machu, whereabouts unknown:
In another incident, the Chinese PSB official authorities in Machu County arrested a 40-year-old Tibetan language teacher, Topden, of Machu Tibetan Nationality Primary School on 28 March 2010 for unknown reason. There is no information on his current whereabouts since his arrest.
Topden was ordained monk and joined Nyulra Ngenthok Monastery after completing his primary schooling. In year 2000, he escaped into exile in India to pursue his further studies after his refusal to comply with the China’s “Patriotic re-education” campaign in the monastery that requires monks to denounce their religious leader, the Dalai Lama. Unable to tolerate the religious repression he escaped into India and continued his studies at Tibetan school in Dharamsala until his return to Tibet in 2006 when he completed his studies.
TCHRD is gravely concerned about the safety of Mr. Choekyong Tseten and Mr. Topden and recalls to the competent Chinese authorities that China is legally bound to effectively ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all persons deprived of liberty in accordance with international human rights law. The Centre is also seriously preoccupied about their arbitrary arrest as it appears to be solely based on their peaceful political and religious beliefs and the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and calls upon the government of the PRC to order their immediate and unconditional release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times, including immediate and unconditional access to a lawyer of their choice