Protests continue in Qinghai & Gansu

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Despite a lock down by Chinese security forces in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibetan-populated areas of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan, Tibetans have continued to stage protests over the weekend. Free Tibet Campaign has received reports of three separate protests in Qinghai from three separate sources and a detailed report of a protest march in Gannan Prefecture in Gansu Province. The sources were all eyewitnesses to the protests but it is important to note that Free Tibet Campaign has received only one eyewitness account for each protest.

1) Gansu Province

According to an eyewitness who called our contact in Dharamsala from Tsoe city (Ch: Hezuo), around 200 monks and and about 800 local lay Tibetans started a protest march from Shiglung village in Lhushoe Township (Ch: Xia Pa Gou) on Saturday 22 March. The march from the village to the Lhushue Choryithang monastery was led by the monks of the monastery, according to the eyewitness. The distance of the march was 25km and, according to the eyewitness, the marchers chanted slogans for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for a free Tibet. The eyewitness reported that the march was completed peacefully. The march had started after Tibetans peacefully removed the Chinese national flag from in front of the Lhushoe Township government building, replacing it with a Tibetan national flag. The eyewitness reported that some laypeople and monks had stayed at the government building in order to protect the national flag. The eyewitness reported that, according to a trusted contact of his, Chinese security forces and People's Armed Police (PAP) later arrived at the Lhushoe government buildings and used force to disperse the Tibetans who were protecting the Tibetan flag. The eyewitness to the march said that his contact who witnessed the use of force at the government buildings said that many Tibetans were injured as a result of the crackdown on the demonstrators. The source said that the security forces did not use lethal force and firearms to put down the protest.

The eyewitness said that this morning (23 March) many younger Tibetans from the township had fled their homes and run into the mountains after the Chinese authorities had declared publicly that they would arrest anyone who had been involved in the protests that took place in Lhushoe township from the 18 March onwards. The eyewitness also reported that the monks from the monastery involved in the protest march - Lhushoe Choryithang monastery - had also fled. Of the 200 monks resident in the monastery, only two remained there this morning, according to the eyewitness.

2) Qinghai Province

Information is increasingly difficult to source with our contacts in Dharamsala finding it harder to reach their sources inside Tibet and Tibetan-populated areas of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. Our contacts have been emailed three separate eyewitness accounts to three separate protests in Qinghai province:

i. an eyewitness emailed our contact in Dharamsala saying that he had seen a protest staged by 700 monks and lay people in Tobden township, Tsekhog, Malho Prefecture in Qinghai province on 22 March at 3pm local time. There were no further details of the protest given in the email.

ii. a separate eyewitness emailed our source in Dharamsala to say that a protest had taken place at Meshig monastery in Manra County (Ch: Kunang) in Qinghai on Sat 22 March. The source gave no further details.

iii. another eyewitness emailed our contact and reported that 1000 Tibetan monks and lay people had staged a protest on 22 March in Jangtza county, Malho Prefecture, Qinghai province. The eyewitness said in the email that the prorest had continued into the morning of 23 March local time although the eyewitness did not report whether the protest had been put down by the authorities at the time of his writing the email.

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

Notes:

For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788456