In Kardze (Ganzi), Sichuan, thousands of police patrol every street, check every individual. The local prison is full of monks, nuns and Tibetans who have expressed solidarity with the Dalai Lama. A foreign tourist tells of the daily and fierce police violence that he witnessed.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Another 3 people, including nuns Kunga Choezom age 22 and Decky Lhamo18, from the monastery of Gyemadra, were arrested June 28 in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Sichuan, for demanding the return of the Dalai Lama and religious freedom. AsiaNews published an eyewitness account of a tourist who recently visited the area.
In June alone there were at least 39 arrests in Kardze for demonstrations with slogans like "Long live the Dalai Lama", "Free Tibet", "The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet". The area is patrolled by thousands of soldiers and policemen and the population lives in fear of repression against the slightest protest. This massive police presence is the first thing the traveler notices.
"There are thousands of police and soldiers - the tourist writes - in riot gear, they patrol the streets with trucks and march on foot. Many are at the corners of the streets and many more are in plain clothes. "
"I was walking with the nuns, they stopped them and told them that they can not walk down the street. They were very brave and responded to the police that they were lost and then walked on. There were armored vehicles with machine guns, trucks full of soldiers, police cars, unmarked police cars that constantly drove round and round, one of their vehicles passed about every one or two minutes. There were policemen on the main street every few meters and several on every corner. "
"I was in Ganzi twice. The first time there was about half of the police presence [found at the time]. The second time, a week later, there was a lot of tension. There had been rumors of monks who had protested for a Free Tibet. On the way back the second time to Ganzi, our vehicle was stopped twice in the suburbs, they checked if there were monks, nuns or foreigners. They took note of the documents of every nun and monk who came to Ganzi. "
"In the city there is a large jail full of Tibetan political prisoners. The evening television shows reports of prisoners repenting for their crimes after being beaten and subjugated. One of them was about 80 years old a nomad, crippled and bent. Her 3 children were killed and she went through the city shouting 'Free Tibet'. My friends in Ganzi, whose names I cannot reveal to protect them, have had several family members in prison, in the past. Their father was detained for 2 years and repeatedly tortured. Two grandchildren, who are nuns, were in prison in 2008 because they wrote a letter to support the Dalai Lama and asking him to return to Tibet. They are young nuns about 20 years and were imprisoned for 2 and 3 years. In describing the torture, they started to cry, the mental and emotional wounds are still fresh. "
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reports yet more arrests of religious. On June 18, the two nuns Choesang and Peltruk, from the monastery of Dhargye Nyagye, Kardze County, demonstrated in the morning in front of the town market, shouting: "Long live the Dalai Lama", "Freedom in Tibet" and "The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet "and distributed leaflets. Within 10 minutes the police arrived and they were taken away.