Wednesday, May 07, 2008
TIBETANS STEADFAST, WITH NO LET-UP IN CHINA'S REPRESSION (*updated*)
elp. I'm running out of new ways to say 'Resistance, Repression Continue' for a headline. These people just won't give up.
A Tibetan woman who reportedly protested peacefully on March 16 and 17 in Ngaba County, Kham (Ch: Sichuan) was arrested on March 18 by Chinese security forces, allegedly because she was the first person to have taken down a door plate at the local township office. She was released after nine days in prison, in an extremely critical condition. She had spent those nine days receiving torture from the prison guards.
There were many bruise marks on her body, she was unable to speak and eat food, constantly vomiting and could hardly breathe properly.The 38 year-old mother of four children, Nechung, remained in this condition until she finally died on April 17, without receiving any proper medical care. How many people participated in this slow murder, we can only guess. But as if that wasn't enough depravity,
After the release, her relatives immediately took her to the County government hospital for treatment. However, the County government hospital refused to admit her to the hospital to receive timely medical treatment, apparently under influence and intimidation of the local Chinese authorities. She was completely denied from accessing timely medical treatment in the hospital.
Even after her death, the Chinese authorities issued terse warning to Tibetan monks for offering prayers and ritual rites for her deceased soul.Nechung's four children are all actually still children, and her husband has been on the run since her arrest. Ngaba County was the site of one of the earliest reported massacres of protesters near Kirti Monastery, where the first photograph of slain demonstrators showed their bodies lined up on the ground awaiting religious service.
Heavy suppression and determined resistance continue in Kham. Additional People's Armed Police were deployed in Ngaba County on April 28. Chinese officials arrived at Namtso Monastery and attempted to raise the Chinese flag, but a monk tried to stop them. The monk was severely beaten. Many of those arrested in this area are detained at a prison near Chengdu, and among them are many with broken limbs who are also being denied proper medical care.
In Sershul County, Kardze prefecture, Kham, Chinese government "work teams" called the monks of Voen-po Monastery to a meeting on April 20. Statements opposing "separatists" were announced, along with orders to fly the Chinese flag over the monastery, but the monks refused. On April 25, three local people were arrested and severely beaten by police.
In Derge County, Kardze, Kham, Chinese "work team" indoctrination squads instructed the monks at Dza Gonsar Monastery to sign letters opposing "separatists" on April 30. The monks rejected this and the PAP have surrounded the monastery and imposed tight restrictions upon it.
Anyone who is suspected of harbouring unapproved attitudes, whether or not they actually act upon them, is liable to be rounded up. On April 29, without any justification, a 41 year-old former monk Nyima Drakpa was arrested in Bardzi township, Tawu County, Kardze, Kham. Ten years ago he had been arrested under suspicion of putting up pro-Tibetan independence posters in the county.
Back again to Sershul County, where the PAP conducted a raid on a village near Voen-po Monastery on April 28.
During the raid, altars that had portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama were mishandled. During one such incident, a girl by the name of T. Lhamo boldly shouted that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is our supreme protector and that His Holiness should be immediately welcomed back to Tibet. She also shouted Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She demanded the reasons why Tibetans could not have the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at their altars. In addition, she also demanded an explanation for the arbitrary arrests of A-drel Lama Rinpoche and monks of the local monastery.T. Lhamo's body was later found, after she apparently committed suicide by strangulation with a rope. As that blind monk in Ngaba told his family before taking his own life (reported here April 28), even he couldn't bear to see such repression.
CTA reports further details of some of those 30 Tibetans who were sentenced in Lhasa at the end of last month. Chinese authorities have alleged that all of them were involved in the March 14 Lhasa riot. The monk Pasang (he was named in the international media coverage), who was given life imprisonment, as well as most of those who received 15 year sentences, are monks from Dhingkha Monastery, Toelung County. Some of the others are from Phenpo Lhundup County. In these two counties, demonstrations only took place after the Lhasa riot. Of course the defendants were not allowed to have lawyers, so no one could question this discrepancy.
The report quotes a person from Toelung County (who wishes to remain anonymous) that the same "crimes" were punished in this travesty with inconsistent sentences. Those from villages were given longer sentences for the same "crime".
Another arrest mission, this time by Public Security Bureau officials, has resulted in the target being shot dead, in Chamdo County, Kham (now incorporated into the "TAR"). Around 9 in the morning on May 4 the officials came to Lathok Yuchu township to arrest Akar Tashi at his home. He was alleged to have been involved in the Lhasa protests (who isn't, these days?) and suspected of past involvement in political activities. Akar Tashi resisted arrest, there was a scuffle with the soldiers -- one of whom was stabbed by Tashi -- and he was shot dead.
Tibetan students from a middle school in Drango (or Drakgo) County, Kardze, Kham, shouted patriotic slogans on May 2, such as "Tibet is an independent country" and "His Holiness should be welcomed to Tibet and be enthroned." Around the same period at Samtenling Nunnery, also in Drango County, the 300 resident nuns defied authorities by hanging banners that stretched nearly two kilometres. The banners proclaimed pro-independence slogans in both Tibetan and Chinese script. Chinese "work teams" were immediately dispatched to "patriotically" re-educate the nuns, who promptly walked out of their institution leaving the "work team" with no one to "re-educate."
For an idea of the onerous restrictions now bearing down on residents of Tibet's sacred capital, see this Letter from Lhasa, written April 27. There's a lot in there on Chinese security forces' masquerade games, especially during the period foreign journalists were around in late March. Prison conditions and severe mistreatment are also featured in this letter by an anonymous resident, but I'd prefer to end on a more hopeful note (I realise I've been awfully depressing lately).
But even in this difficult time you still see brave and good actions. Yesterday I saw a little boy, around one or two years old; that I believed displayed a good example of Tibetan spirit. The baby looked as if he had just learnt how to walk and was out with his grandmother and her little dog. They were standing in front of the Jokhang Square where military in blue ensures nobody crosses the square.So there you go. That child just said it all.
The baby walked up the three steps to the square and started to make prostrations towards the Jokhang while his grandmother also prayed but her frail body prevented her from prostrating as well. When the boy finished he looked at the guards, then at his grandmother, and then started to walk closer to the temple. The guards looked at the baby, not knowing what to do.
After about ten meters the baby boy stopped and prostrated again, then turned around, walked back to one of the guards and took his hand to say goodbye. Seeing this reminded me that all Tibetan people want is religious freedom and the right to preserve their culture.
[UPDATE]: Oesser's latest bulletins have some bearing on some of the accounts described above, but I didn't get them into the article before I posted it last night.
She has more details about the indoctrination squad's work at Dza Gonsar Monastery (mentioned earlier in this article) in Derge County, Kham on April 30. The "work team" tried to compel the monks to sign a document called, "Expose and Criticize the Dalai Separatist Clique", and demanded two photos from each monk to affix with their signature. The monks were threatened that if they failed to comply with the orders, the monastery would be closed.
The monks gathered themselves in the Hall of the Protective Deity, and took an oath in front of the sacred image that they would rather die than to sign those documents.
May Day was of course a big holiday festival in China, and Lhasa was decked out with red lanterns and red flags everywhere. The pedestrian street Yuthog Road was filled with police doing "service for the people" -- giving haircuts, repairing bicycles, etc. But the people who were being so served were actually hand-picked by neighbourhood Party committees to make a show of harmonious relations with the authorities. The show was dutifully recorded for television and newspaper features, while all intersections leading into the area were blocked by military police who forced those not invited into taking a detour somewhere else.
At the weekend she recorded that the military soldiers patrolling Lhasa have been dressing up as tourists, while those on guard duty have opted for police uniforms. Some work units have told their employees that their place of work is now to circumambulate the Potala, and neighbourhood Party committees also organise faux-pilgrims to complete the scene. Such performers are receiving bonuses for their efforts.
On May Day the Ramoche Temple and the "Tripa Lhakhang" in Lhasa were re-opened to visitors, with many undercover agents posing as tourists although the sentries have been withdrawn. It is also learned that another journalist group will soon visit Lhasa, including foreigners. Work units are planning to send their workers to hold demonstrations over some trivial matters, to show how free Lhasans are to express themselves. Potemkin Lhasa.
Oeser reports that many Tibetans regard the brevity of the meeting between Tibetan envoys and Chinese officials in Shenzhen on Sunday as an "expected but still sad result." Tibetans in China do not believe the government is sincere -- the Chinese representatives are not senior enough. But Chinese "netters" ridiculed the meeting with statements like, "next time it will do just to dispatch a bureau chief," and, "do not bother the Chairman and the Prime Minister too much." The Tibetan citizen journalist wonders, "Does the CCP really think that they can drag on like this until the Olympics is over?"
Official Chinese media reports that the 30 Tibetans sentenced on April 29 actually did have lawyers, although none were in evidence at the sentencing. No defence was raised by the phantom "court-appointed attorneys." The state media also quoted one of these phantoms, saying that his client told him the confession was not extracted with torture, and that the food was "very good." However Oser quotes one Tibetan lawyer who went to visit defendant Losang Samten:
"When I walked into the house of detention, two doctors were treating the suspects who were detained there. At that time over a dozen suspects were waiting to see a doctor. In addition, two suspects were receiving an I.V. there."According to information from some Tibetans who were released, all who were arrested were beaten and abused to some degree, some worse than others. Some have become disabled from the abuse, some have died or become mentally unstable as a result. Some were so severely injured as to require hospitalization, with police warning them that it is forbidden to reveal that they were tortured to confess.
In Rebkong County, Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) the Rong Gonchen Monastery has been frequently mentioned here (check our handy new search feature). Around 80% of the monks had been arrested by April 17. Wouser has learned that all but 17 have now been released, and some of the monks are receiving treatment in hospital for the injuries they sustained after their arrest. She has also learned that around a thousand armed police and special police have been evacuated from the county, while the numbers of undercover police has increased.
A local court in Rebkong County has recently tried three monks from Dowa Monastery in secret, giving prison terms of 2 - 3 years. In Drango County, Kardze (also mentioned above), a secret trial was held for six nuns and one layperson. Three nuns received seven year sentences while the other defendants got three years.
Toward the end of March, when "work teams" were busy "re-educating" the monks of Sershul Monastery in Kham (not sure if this is the same monastery mentioned earlier in this article), the respected Tulku (reincarnated Lama) Thubten Nyandra said:
"It is totally without any basis to claim that this incident was masterminded by the Dalai Lama. The cause for this incident is that a great number of Han immigrants moved to Tibet to plunder the land resources, and to rob the locals of their rights to receive education and to work. There is no Tibetan who does not want to believe in the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government should hold talks with the Dalai Lama as soon as possible."Thubten Nyandra Rinpoche has been under house arrest ever since.