“China Said to Detain Returning Tibetan Pilgrims”

Apparently some of the pilgrims are still in detention, prompting one of the first times this story has been carried outside of RFA:

Many of the pilgrims are elderly and have been detained for more than two months in central Tibet, or what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. The detainees are being interrogated and undergoing patriotic re-education classes, and have been ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama, who presided over the ceremony, known as the Kalachakra, say people who have researched the detentions. The detainees are being held at hotels, schools and military training centers or bases; some are being forced to pay for their lodging and meals.

The detentions are expected to stoke resentment among Tibetans toward the Chinese government at a time when tensions across the Tibetan plateau are at the highest in years.

“About the pilgrim returnees, last I heard was they were detained and many put in hotel rooms,” said Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. He added that the detainees had been “interrogated regularly,” with questions focusing on what various officials, including himself, the Dalai Lama and the previous prime minister, Samdhong Rinpoche, had said in speeches during the Kalachakra.

Human rights organizations and Tibet advocacy groups have put out reports based on information collected through interviews. “This is the first known instance since the late 1970s in which the Chinese authorities have detained laypeople in Tibet in large numbers to force them to undergo re-education,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement. The group said that it was unclear how long the detainees were being held, and that there had been no reports of any of the 700 Han, the dominant ethnic group in China, who attended the Kalachakra being detained.

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Filed under enforced disappearance, religion, Tibet

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