Police arrest witnesses at site of recent self-immolation protest

A woman joins a candle-lit vigil outside the Chinese Embassy in central London on 22 March 2017 to express her solidarity with self-immolator Pema Gyaltsen
A woman joins a candle-lit vigil outside the Chinese Embassy in central London on 22 March 2017 to express her solidarity with self-immolator Pema Gyaltsen

23rd March 2017

Bystanders at recent protest in eastern Tibet taken into custody

People nearby the self-immolation of Pema Gyaltsen in Kardze (eastern Tibet) on 18 March have been arrested, Tibet Watch has reported.

Chinese police and security personnel detained a number of Tibetan bystanders who were close to the scene while the 24-year-old farmer was staging his self-immolation protest. Their mobile phones were confiscated from them and it remains unclear exactly how many of them were arrested.

Local people are assuming that the witnesses were arrested for security reasons and would be interrogated. While many of them have subsequently been released, it is unclear whether all those who were seized are still being held or not.  

Family of young farmer beaten in detention

On the evening of 18 March, the same day as the self-immolation protest, around ten Tibetans including Pema Gyaltsen's family and people close to him approached local authorities to enquire about his arrest and well-being. They were taken into custody and severely beaten. They were all later released, but several of them had sustained severe injuries.

Pema Gyaltsen was arrested by police and security personnel at the time of his self-immolation and it has been confirmed that he is now in hospital. However, information about his current state of health as well as his location have not been released.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in central London yesterday night to stage a vigil in solidarity with Pema Gyaltsen. Attendees lit candles in solidarity with the Tibetan protester while many also chanted traditional Tibetan prayers.  

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Tibetans continue to resist the occupation through protests, demonstrations and by expressing their unique culture. For their defiance they are punished with harassment, arrest and long prison sentences. Take action for Tibet’s political prisoners by writing to the Chinese authorities and telling them that the world is watching.