The holy Buddhist month of Saka Dawa saw a series of protests in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) in Tibet. Atleast 39 known Tibetans have been arrested in June 2011 for staging demonstrations calling for a “Free Tibet”, “Long live the Dalai Lama” and “Return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet”. Situation in the area is very tense and people live in a climate of fear. In the wake of protests, security troops in thousands have been deployed in the area to instantly crush any sort of a popular protest. A foreign tourist who recently visited Kardze gave following account of the situation in the area.
There were thousands of police and army, in riot gear, in trucks patrolling the streets, and on foot in formation patrolling the streets. As well as many standing on street corners, and many more in plain clothes.
The nuns I was walking with were stopped and told they could not walk on the streets. They were very brave and told the police to get lost and kept walking. There was something like armoured vehicles with big guns on the roof, trucks full of army personnel, police cars, unmarked police cars driving constantly around the streets at a rate of one vehicle every minute or two. There were police every few metres on the main road and many on each corner.
I was in Ganzi twice. The first time, there were half the number of police/army. The second time, a week later, it was quite tense. There were rumours of monks calling for Free Tibet so perhaps that’s why the numbers had increased. On the way back into Ganzi the second time, our vehicle was stopped twice on the outskirts — looking for monks/ nuns and foreigners. They were taking down ID card details of all monks/nuns entering Ganzi.
There is a large prison in town full of Tibetan political prisoners. In the evenings, they show a segment on TV of the prisoners repenting their crimes, after being beaten into submission. One was an old nomad lady — about 80, crippled and bent over. Her three sons had been killed and she came into town to shout Free Tibet. My friends in Ganzi, who I won’t name to protect them, had several members of the family in prison in the past. The father was in for two years and repeatedly tortured. The two neices, who are nuns, were most recently in prison in 2008 for writing an open letter asking the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and in support of him. They are young nuns in their 20′s and were locked up for two and three years successively. As they described their torture to me, they started crying, the emotional/mental wounds were still fresh.
In addition to earlier reports of nuns and monks staging demonstrations in Kardze, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information that two more nuns have been arrested for protest.
On 18 June 2011 two nuns, Choesang and Peltruk, of Dhargye Nyagye Nunnery, Kardze County, staged a demonstration around 9 am in the main market of Kardze calling for the “Long Life of the Dalai Lama”, “Freedom in Tibet”, and “Return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet” while distributing leaflets. Around 10 minutes later the police arrived and immediately handcuffed the two and started to beat them severely. It is highly probable that the nuns are being tortured in the prison. Their families have been denied visitation as well as prohibited from giving food and clothes to them. Choesang (31) was born in Rangpa-Tsachung Village, Shitse Township, Kardze County to Kelgah (father) and Ngodup Dolmo (mother) of Chunangtsong family. Peltruk (34) was born to Ngepa (father) and Dechen Yangtso (mother) in Reedha Village, Shitse Township, Kardze County.
A list of the known Tibetans arrested for protests in June 2011 is available here (Word Doc.).