05/18/2010, 00.00
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Since 2008, 50 Tibetan intellectuals arrested for criticizing Beijing

Report by the International Campaign for Tibet. On April 23 well known writer Shogdung detained, he had spoken against the colonial policies of China. Meanwhile, the "second" Panchen Lama visits the earthquake-stricken prefectures.

Lhasa (AsiaNews) - Chinese police have arrested about 50 Tibetans in the last year, including writers and artists, for their role in anti-government protests which occurred in Tibet and Tibetan-majority provinces in China in spring 2008. The arrest of the famous writer Shogdung, happened April 23 last, showing that the government continues its policy of repression against those sections of civil society that have used their own channels to tell the world about the true situation in the region and criticize the Beijing’s “colonial policies".

A local source tells AsiaNews that the fifty intellectuals arrested, "are familiar with computers and have some contact with the West”. Many Tibetans not only do not speak English, but do not even know Western characters: they, however, were somehow the megaphone of local protests. Protests which the Chinese government have shown it has not yet forgotten. "

Meanwhile, the "second" Panchen Lama – the one chosen by Beijing - has made his first official visit to the area of the prefecture of Yushu, devastated last April 14 by an earthquake. According to Beijing the quake caused about 2,110 casualties, while local activists speak of a toll that fluctuates between 4 and 10 thousand deaths and point the finger at inadequate and slow relief and rescue efforts.

The disputed Buddhist leader, chosen by officials of the central regime, after the abduction of the first Panchen (instead recognized by the Dalai Lama), held a funeral for the deceased but declined to comment on the arrest of artists and even Tibetan monks, who wanted to bring aid and relief to the quake victims and were forcibly removed by public security agents.

According to a report released yesterday by the International Campaign for Tibet - entitled ""A 'Raging Storm': The Crackdown on Tibetan Writers and Artists after Tibet's Spring 2008 Protests- Chinese policy against the  region and its inhabitants continues. According to the authors, however, " the crackdown had only encouraged dissent, making it even more difficult to control”. Although, perhaps precisely because of the severity of the government, dissidents continue to speak in public, especially with the written word. "

According to the report among those arrested are "13 writers, while others are involved in the arts and the public sphere. We do not know much about those who were taken away, but witnesses speak of torture and harassment of those who expressed their point of view".  

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