Monk Arrested for solo protest against Land grabs

12th August 2016

A Tibetan monk named Lobsang Sopa was arrested by police following his protest against a land grab by local authorities in eastern Tibet.

On 10 August, Lobsang Sopa set up a camping tent in front of local government offices and protested against the confiscation of land in Shershul County, Kardze Prefecture, and its unfair re-distribution.

As part of his solo protest, he had a large handwritten cloth banner in Tibetan and Chinese which read “The grassland of second division of Bonpo in Sershul County should be distributed in accordance with the law. The ownership of the grassland should be returned to the people without bias and not favour the strong over the weak."

Following the start of his protest, a few policemen arrived at the scene and immediately put him in a vehicle and took him away. His situation and whereabouts after his arrest is currently unknown. Over the past few years, Lobsang Sopa has petitioned the concerned offices and authorities several times requesting for the fair distribution of the grassland to the Tibetans in the area. After having his appeals ignored by the authorities he finally decided he had no other option but to protest in front of the local government by camping out in a tent.

LAND ACQUISITION

The Chinese government is confiscating the land in Tibetan areas in the name of modernisation and social development. After taking over the ownership of the land, the authorities distribute it back among the residents in their respective areas. However, the land distribution is not carried out fairly, allocating more land and better areas to those who are either wealthy or have backing from the authorities. The poorer families have less land or are given land in a worse area creating an unfair system of land distribution which has caused a lot of disputes even among the local residents.

Take Action

Under Chinese rule Tibetans risk arrest for acts as small as flying a Tibetan flag or calling for the Dalai Lama's long life or return to Tibet. Many of those in detention or prison are political prisoners who have stood up to the occupation. Join in with Free Tibet's Robed Resisters campaign to show solidarity with Tibetan political prisoners.