Surprise, surprise. The forced celebration of the Chinese “liberation” of Tibet is making a lot of Tibetans unhappy, with protests spreading from place to place. I can’t believe the government would go out of its way to aggravate the situation like this. With people already on edge, the last thing they should have done was try to make everyone party over how great they have it now. Roundup of the latest areas from RFA, which has been in touch with Tibetans inside China:
Authorities are increasing surveillance and detaining protesters in three Tibetan-majority counties in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to residents and Tibetans living in exile.
Tibetans in Dege (in Chinese, Dege), Tawu (in Chinese, Daofu), and Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) counties in Kardze prefecture have held protests against Chinese rule in recent weeks calling for Tibetan independence and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since 1959.
Geshe Lobsang Phuntsog, a Tibetan exile living in southern India, said that police in Sichuan had also targeted Tibetans burning incense in celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday on July 6.
“In Tawu … many Tibetans marked the birth anniversary of the Dalai Lama. To block the celebratory activities of the monks and nuns, the authorities cut power off in the Nyasa Dargyeling monastery and two local nunneries,” he said.
“Government officials were also stationed in the monasteries to watch the activities of the monks and nuns.”
And a Tibetan caller from Kardze county said he saw a young Tibetan taken away by authorities in the county seat, where a large police presence had been stationed in recent weeks.
“On July 7, I was in a tea shop in Kardze town sipping a cup of tea when I heard a big commotion. When I went with some others to check on the crowd, I saw a young Tibetan being taken away by police and escorted into a police vehicle,” said the Kardze resident, who asked to remain anonymous.
“He was severely beaten and even when he was put in the vehicle, the police [continued to] hit him with iron rods and sticks. He was a young male in twenties. I don’t think he was able to protest for very long.”
Meanwhile, according to a Tibetan in exile in India, authorities in Qinghai province’s Yushu prefecture detained eight monks who held a protest on July 12 against planned official celebrations in Nangchen county.
“The eight monks belonged to Zurmang monastery and had distributed fliers calling upon Tibetans not to participate in the official program of celebrations which include horse races and other cultural festivities, including songs and dances,” he said.
I haven’t seen the authorities official calendar of events, but if they plan to take the rest of the summer to force Tibetans to celebrate, this could grow even more. Many of the most restive areas of Tibet, Kham and Amdo towns like Labrang or Lithang, have yet to weigh in on this. It still probably won’t reach 2008 levels because the authorities are ready for it this time, but ongoing festivities could keep it at a slow burn for the time being.
Edit: The Tibet Post has more on the situation in Nangchen:
Citing the “Yushu Earthquake of 2010 and the great suffering it caused,” the people and monks of Surmang Monastery refused to take part in any celebrations. It was widely believed the games were being planned to falsely portray Tibetans in Nangchen as happy during the anniversary of “Tibet’s liberation.”
Monks in Nangchen responded to local authorities by saying “…if the games are to happen, then let them happen in another area. There is no place for any festive games in Nangchen, we will completely refuse to cooperate.”
Over 300 monks from Surmang Monastery loudly protested the government’s plans and walked out the monastery. To date, the monks haven’t returned to Surmang monastery. It is believed monks have returned to their native homes and are also being hidden by local people who supported their peaceful protest.
The source mentioned small celebrations for the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 14 Dalai Lama’s birthday had occurred which “raised tensions” in Nangchen.
In light of the monks’ protest, the games were rescheduled for July 10, 2011.
Having failed to return, Chinese authorities in Nangchen warned of “harsh consequences” if the monks continue to “disobey orders,” according to the source.
As a result, the situation in Nangchen is tense. “No one knows what is going to happen next,” the source in Nangchen said.