Arrest and protests mar ‘Losar’ week in Tibet

The ‘Losar’ Tibetan new year period, last week, witnessed more arrests, protests, and repression in Tibetan areas.

According to exile sources, Tibetans in the Kardze region of eastern Tibet carried out extensive pamphleteering protests for the first five days of Losar (Feb 22-26).

The pamphlets, protesting against the repressive policies of the Chinese government, were pasted on walls of Chinese government buildings, windows of Chinese offices, bridges, and hung on lampposts around the region.

“The slogans on the pamphlets called for independence of Tibet, the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and unity of the Tibetan people,” Tenzin Dhargey, an exile monk told Phayul.

Also in the region, in a show of new year celebrations, when the local Chinese officials burst firecrackers on the first day of Losar, Tibetans responded with an impromptu protest. The authorities were forced to stop further celebrations in fear of provoking larger protests, Dhargey said.

Following the self-immolation of 23 Tibetans and killings of Tibetan protesters in last 11 months, Tibetans inside and outside Tibet called for a boycott of celebrations during Losar.

Elsewhere, a Tibetan businessman named Tamdin, 32, from Nangchen was arrested from the Chengdu airport on the first day of Losar (Feb 22).
It is being reported that Tamdin was arrested for taking part in the February 8 mass protests in Nangchen.

Around 500 Tibetans had taken part in the day-long mass prayers, wearing traditional Tibetan dresses, eating traditional Tibetan food Tsampa (roasted barley flour) and carrying incenses while chanting prayers and slogans for the long life of the Dalai Lama.

Although no arrests were made on the day of the protests, it is now being reported that the police in the entire region are working together to nab the protesters.

There are currently no details on Tamdin’s whereabouts.

A Tibetan monastery in the traditional Amdo region of Tsolo, eastern Tibet, has been put under strict surveillance following a candle light vigil protest earlier this month.

According to exile sources, around 100 monks of the Soma (spelled as pronounced) monastery had taken part in the protest vigil.

Chinese government officials and security personnel have since carried out intensive interrogation sessions, restricting the movement of the monks.

Sources say that the entire region is under military lockdown with a heavy security presence.

In exile, three Tibetans began an indefinite fast in solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and to “amplify their call for freedom” in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York on the first day of Losar.

They are appealing the United Nations to immediately send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet, put pressure on China – to stop the undeclared martial law in Tibet, to allow international media inside Tibet, to release all political prisoners, and to stop “patriotic re-education” campaigns in Tibet.

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