Monk detained after calling for Tibetan freedom during Chinese celebrations

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A 20-year-old Tibetan monk has been detained after disrupting official Chinese celebrations by shouting slogans calling for Tibetan freedom.

Lobsang Gendun, aged 20 (picture 1), engaged in a lone protest in a public area on Monday morning (1 July) in Pashoe County in the Tibet Autonomous Region (2). He protested during official celebrations marking the 92nd Anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China.

Lobsang Gendun called out for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for freedom for Tibet. He shouted slogans in the crowd for more than five minutes before being arrested by Public Security Bureau personnel. His relatives and monastery officials do not know where he is being held.

Shortly after he was taken away, Chinese security forces arrived at Drongsar monastery, the nearby monastery to which the monk belonged. They ransacked his room but didn't find anything incriminating. An argument broke out at the monastery between security forces and senior monks; who claimed that the authorities should not enter the monk’s room without their permission.The security forces then demanded that all monks currently on summer vacation from the monastery be called back. This request was refused.

Security forces also visited the family home and ransacked it. Doors and windows were broken and they broke into Lobsang Gendun’s room; which had been locked. It is believed that they discovered pictures of the Dalai Lama in the monk’s room.

Communication restrictions have been put in place at the monastery and in the county since the protest.

The heavy-handed response to this protest in the Tibet Autonomous Region comes just days after US Ambassador to China Gary Locke was taken on what was reportedly a carefully stage-managed visit to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa (3).

Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“China’s attempts to silence Tibetan dissent continue to fail. Just days after the US Ambassador to China was presented a picture-perfect view of Tibet, a monk was arrested and his family home ransacked, simply for shouting slogans. This is the true face of China and as long as it exists brave Tibetans will call for freedom for Tibet.”

Ends

Notes for editors

1. For photographs please contact Free Tibet
2. Chinese: Basu County, Changdu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region
3. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/shown-06282013155437.html

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

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