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New Arrivals in India Shed Light on repression in Tibet

Recent arrivals from Tibet have given their testimonies in Dharmsala, shedding more light on China’s repression in Tibet since 2008, according to the Dharmsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. One of the newly arrived Tibetans, Lobsang Samphel, is from Amdo Ngaba, the area where the self-immolations started in 2009, and where the largest number of them have taken place.

Samphel shared his account with the exile Tibetan rights group—Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, stating, “On 16 June 2008, at around 12 Noon, about 20 police officers and government officials came to our monastery and attempted to mount a Chinese flag on the top of the monastery building.” Samphel said that the monks protested the hoisting of such a flag on the monastery and succeeded in stopping it from happening.

Almost at the same time, he said that there was a large demonstration taking place at the County town, which was led by about 800 County Middle School students, Kirti Monastery monks, and lay Tibetans. Samphel said that the local Gomang Monastery’s monks learned of the protest and that around 500 of their monks joined the protest in the county town.

Samphel stated that the Chinese security forces started to use force to suppress the protest and provoked some protesters into setting fire to a security forces building and what he described as a court, which may have also been a prosecutor’s office of some sort.

Samphel stated that, “ I saw the Chinese security forces shoot dead a 21-year-old Tibetan woman, Lhundup Tso, who at the time was hanging Khataks (Tibetan ceremonial white scarves) on the entrances of Tibetan restaurants and shops so that those businesses would be protected. Then I saw two Tibetan youths shot dead at the protest site. In the evening, senior monks and elderly Tibetans from surrounding villages strongly appealed to stop the protest for fear of security crackdown and loss of lives. The protestors finally went back to their respective homes.”

Another new arrival Jigme Gyaltsen also gave his account of brutal repression in Tibet, concluding that, “There is no freedom for the Tibetans in in Tibet.”