Saturday, April 04, 2009
'GET BACK TO WORK' CAMPAIGN TAKES MORE CASUALTIES
ivil disobedience spreads in Tibet as farmers in the Kardze Tibetan "Autonomous" Prefecture adhere to their farming boycott, despite physical and psychological abuse, bribery and threats of land confiscation.
Another region of Kardze Prefecture is now reporting protests against the Chinese administration, according to a source in contact with the area. In the township of Rongpatsa (location name now corrected, see comments section), Kardze County, eight juveniles were arrested on March 25 for holding a public demonstration at Gyaldoghowa village (phonetic spelling). Among those arrested was the son of the village head, who warned the authorities that the village's 80 families would revolt if their children were not released. All eight were later released.
On April 1 four nuns belonging to the Hardo Rinpoche Nunnery (in the same township) along with two local youths were arrested after raising Tibetan freedom slogans and demanding the release of Tibetan political prisoners. Chinese authorities have tried to bribe residents of Norzin village (phonetic spelling) to comply with their orders to get back to work in the fields. The residents refused, reminding the authorities that they will never tolerate their denunciations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Following the security forces' beating to death of Phuntsok Rabten on March 25, this colonial army seems to be on a beating and arresting kick in Drango County over the issue of the farming boycott. On March 27 a group of farmers refused to comply with Chinese orders to work, and were severely beaten up (some into unconsciousness) and arrested. Fourteen Tibetans were injured in the incident, some of them seriously. Relatives are not permitted to visit them in hospital.
One of these, a woman named Khethar, is now in an "unable mental state" due to the violent beatings, according to sources. Others were forced to sign documents they didn't understand. The other identified victims of this incident are Pema Lhamo, Yali, Palchen and Choekyi, all from different villages in Drango County. Security forces continue to search for Tibetans in Drango who evaded arrest, but farmers continue refusing to farm their land.
On March 22 Pema Yangtso, a 26 year old nun at Nyima Gesey Nunnery in Kardze County, shouted slogans for Tibet's independence. She was arrested and her whereabouts are still unknown. On March 16 Lobsang Gyurmey, 29, called for independence and prayed for long life for the Dalai Lama. He was arrested and his place of detention is unknown. Lobsang supports his wife, three children and an elderly mother.
This heavy-handed back-to-work campaign has even affected education in Drango County. Children studying at a school in Dzakhog township last month were required to stop their work and vacate their school, which was needed by the colonial army for temporary shelter. Massive troop reinforcements have also been sent to the Dzagon Sargon Monastery.
During the short protest Yangkyi Dolma distributed some handwritten pamphlets. Officers of the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) beat the two nuns viciously with rods and electric shock batons before being thrown into a vehicle and taken away. The earlier RFA report had quoted local eyewitnesses saying that around 50 security forces were involved, and that the nuns continued to call for long life for the Dalai Lama even after their beatings.
At around 7 pm that same evening, security forces stormed and ransacked the family home of Yangkyi Dolma and harassed her family for "supporting separatist forces." Early the next morning more security officers returned to the home and ordered Yangkyi's brother to report to the county government headquarters. His fate is not known.
There have been around 28 known incidents of peaceful protest in Kardze T-"A"-P since March 10, with about 60 people known to have been arrested. It is likely that more incidents have gone unreported due to the severe restrictions on communication. Authorities in Drango County (neighbouring to Kardze County), now faced with the popularly supported farming boycott, have reportedly issued an ultimatum for Tibetans to get back to work in the fields. They must resume farming by April 11 or their land will be confiscated by the government.
Around six Buddhist monks staged a peaceful sit-in protest in front of the Xining City High People's Court, in the Qinghai provincial capital on April 2. The protest began around 8 am, with a large banner which read, "Appealing to the court to conduct fair judicial proceedings in accordance with the law." The monks were taken away by Public Security Bureau officers, and their place of detention remains unknown.