02/17/2009, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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People arrested for not celebrating Tibetan New Year, showing Dalai Lama photo

by Nirmala Carvalho
Monks and ordinary citizens protest peacefully, shouting “Free Tibet” and “No Losar Celebrations” to mark their opposition to Chinese rule. Police beat them and take them away. Nothing has been heard about them since.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – The price of showing a picture of the Dalai Lama is landing in prison. On Sunday Lobsang Lhundup (pictured), a monk from Nekhor Monastery in Lithang County (Kardze), was arrested for organising a one-man protest during which he showed a picture of the Dalai Lama and shouted “Free Tibet” and “No Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebration.”

The next day monk Sonam Tenpa, also from Nekhor, and at least 14 other Tibetans from Lithang County were arrested for carrying out a similar protest, carrying a picture of the Dalai Lama and shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama,” “Independent Tibet,” and “No Losar celebration this year.”

Urgen Tenzin, director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), told AsiaNews that according to eyewitnesses “Tibetan protesters were brutally beaten, manhandled and forcibly loaded into military trucks by the Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the People's Armed Police (PAP) forces. Many were badly bruised and injured with blood dripping from their nose, head and arms.”

“The current whereabouts [of those arrested] and their condition could not be ascertained at the moment. More troops were deployed around Lithang,” he added.

“The Chinese are provoking Tibetans into reacting, by compelling them to denounce the Dalai as well as undergo the patriotic re education campaign,” Tenzin said. “The Chinese if they have any sincerity about resolving the Tibetans issue, should invite the Dalai for dialogue” and strike a deal.

In a sign of protest many Tibetan rights groups said that they would not celebrate the upcoming Tibetan New Year because there is “very little to celebrate” as long as Chinese repression persists.

Lobsang and others simply and peacefully exercised their right to “freedom of expression and thought,” said the TCHRD, which now fears that they might be tortured. (NC)

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