Local sources told the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy that on 25 March Phuntsok Rabten, 27 (pictured), from a monastery in Drango County in Kardze (Ganzi in Chinese), was handing out flyers urging farmers to lay down their tools in order to protest against Chinese persecution and pray for Tibetans killed in the 2008 demonstrations.
When police arrived he fled but was overtaken and beaten to death on the spot. His body was then taken to a ravine and thrown in to hide it. But his fellow monks found it, retrieved it and brought it to the local police station to file charges, but were turned away. According to the authorities’ version of events, the monk either committed suicide or accidentally fell into the ravine as he rode a motorbike.
Also on 25 March police arrested two other monks from Minyak Monastery in Drango County. They too had urged farmers to stop working the land as a sign of protest.
Two days later police arrested about 20 protesting farmers, beat 11 of them so badly that they had to be hospitalised.
Meanwhile the government-run China Tibetology Research Centre released a long report on Tibet’s economic progress in 50 years of Chinese domination.
The paper rejects out of hand international charges of cultural genocide against the Tibetan population, claiming instead that Tibetans are still the overwhelming majority of the local population and that the Tibetan language is taught in school. It does not however make any mention of arrests and imprisonment.
By contrast, the Tibetan government-in-exile counters that the report misrepresents the facts, pointing out that Tibet’s major cities are already dominated by ethnic Han settlers. It argues that if most of them do not appear on official statistics, it is simply because they do not have the required residence permit.