Tibetan Monk seized following protest marking historic date

Picture shows Tibetan monk Lobsang Dhargay who carried out a sole protest on March 16 in Ngaba County
Picture shows Tibetan monk Lobsang Dhargay who carried out a sole protest on March 16 in Ngaba County

20th March 2017

Update (24/03/2017): It has been reported that Lobsang Dhargay is now in a critical condition having been severely beaten and tortured in detention following his one-man protest on March 16. He is currently being held at an army camp in Ngaba County. Authorities have also summoned his family for interrogation.

March 16 is a critical date in the Ngaba region given a series of self-immolations and mass bloodshed after 2008 crack-down

A Tibetan monk has been arrested in Ngaba, eastern Tibet, following a solo peaceful protest on 16 March.

Lobsang Dhargay, a monk at Kirti Monastery, carried out the action in the morning at a local market. According to reports verified by Tibet Watch, security personnel arrived and detained him a few minutes into the protest.

The 16 March is a key event in the local calendar and marks the date when four people set themselves on fire in protests between 2011 and 2014 as well as the anniversary date in 2008 when at least 23 people were killed by Chinese authorities in the locality during nationwide protests.  

Before his protest on 16 March, Lobsang Dhargay posted a short essay on his social media account entitled: "Don't forget what day it is today, remember the bloody footprints".

A chronology of the Ngaba 16 March events:

  • 16 March 2008, at least 23 Tibetans killed during peaceful protests
  • 16 March 2011, Kirti monk Phuntsok self-immolated (his was the first self-immolation protest following that of Tabey's who self-immolated in February 2009)
  • 16 March 2012, Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim self-immolated
  • 16 March 2013, Kirti monk Lobsang Thokmey self-immolated
  • 16 March 2014, Kirti monk Lobsang Palden self-immolated

Tibet has seen a series of solo protests over recent years including Lobsang TseringLosang Thubten and Tashi Dhondup.

Families of those accused of staging lone protests are often only informed once the trial has taken place behind closed doors and many of the accused are refused access to legal counsel. It is common for solo protesters to be held in unknown locations.

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