After days of the peaceful protests in Lhasa and in other parts of Tibet, the Chinese authorities are now arresting hundreds of Tibetans in other parts of Tibet.
On 19 March 2008, Lhasa City Procuratorate has arrested 24 Tibetan protestors on a basis of pre-trial detention. Although 24 Tibetan protestors are on pre-trial detention but it is already a foregone conclusion that they will be charged with serious crimes and will receive harsh prison sentences.
In China pre-trial arrests are usual practice, it is most likely that the detained Tibetan protestors will be indicted within five days at an extraordinary pace compared judicial system in the democratic countries. The swift arrests and sentencing is part of Chinese legal system of sending fear and panic to the protestors to cease their activities. It can well be described as “killing goats to scare sheep”.
Official Chinese sources say that so far 170 Tibetans have voluntarily surrendered. Although the Chinese authorities promised to give ‘leniency’ to those who surrender within the dateline (midnight of 17 March 2008) however, given the nature of Chinese regime and its past record in dealing with Tibetan protestors in 1989, many doubt if the surrendered Tibetan protestors will receive any leniency as promised by the Chinese authorities. Chances are very little for Tibetans to receive leniency by surrendering themselves to the Chinese authorities.
As of now, over 1000 Tibetan protestors were arrested, hundreds disappeared and the numbers are rising. The situation in all parts of Tibet remains under intense restriction and vigilance and there has been many reports of ordinary Tibetan citizens reeling under a state sponsored crisis of intense shortage of food supplies, drinking water and other essential commodities to sustain life.
Tibetans in Ngaba County were already announced that they must surrender themselves to the Chinese authorities after days of protest on 15, 16 and 17 March with a promise of offering leniency. It also called upon people to surrender arms. The homes of suspected Tibetans involved in this week’s demonstrations were ransacked and raided. The prayer session at Kirti Monastery was forced to suspend indefinitely. There are cases of enforced disappearance surfacing from the area.
TCHRD expresses its serious concern over the prevailing circumstances in many parts of Tibetan inhabited areas.