Fresh protests in Serthar, Tibetans call for independence
DHARAMSHALA, January 18: Tibetans in the eastern Tibetan region of Serthar, Kardze carried out fresh protests calling for Tibet’s independence on Monday.
According to a report by AP, “dozens of Tibetans, including monks, held up a portrait of the Dalai Lama” in an act of defiance against Chinese rule. In January alone, four Tibetans in the adjoining regions of Kardze have died after setting themselves on fire demanding the return of the Dalai Lama and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
The report quoted an official from Serthar county public security bureau as saying that “on Monday, fewer than 100 Tibetans gathered and held a portrait of the Dalai Lama.”
However, the Chinese official declined to give further details on whether any arrests were made after the peaceful demonstrations.
Writing on her blog, Beijing based Tibetan writer Woeser also confirmed the protests in Serthar.
“Hundreds of monks from Kardze protested with Tibetan flags and portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Woeser wrote.
The award-winning Tibetan writer also said that Tibetans in Darlag County, Golok, on Monday, removed the Chinese flag from a local government building and replaced it with the “banned in Tibet” snow lion national flag of Tibet.
Thousands of Tibetans had attended the funeral of Sopa Rinpoche in Darlag a day earlier. Rinpoche set his body on fire on January 8 shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom and the long life of the Dalai Lama.
Reporting on the Serthar protests, Dharamshala based radio service VoT said the protests by over 200 Tibetans were sparked when two monks from a nearby monastery started a demonstration raising slogans for Tibet’s independence and throwing leaflets in the air.
Chinese security personnel are reportedly on the look out for the two monks who were rescued from the clutches of the police by the Tibetan crowd.
In October last, hundreds of Tibetans had carried out an impromptu protest in front of the main entrance of Serthar after a photo of the Dalai Lama and a huge Tibetan flag were removed from a four-storey building and thrown in the street.