A Communist Party official in Tibet has warned Buddhist clergy against political activity in the run-up to the first anniversary of last year's massive anti-government protests.
The warning from Lobsang Gyaincain, published in the official Tibet Daily on Thursday, followed a reported crackdown earlier this week on Tibetan protesters in Lithang, a volatile traditionally Tibetan region of Sichuan province. Those protesters had praised the exiled Dalai Lama and called on Tibetans to abstain from celebrations of the Tibetan new year to mark the anniversary of the demonstrations.
Lobsang Gyaincain, who is a member of the standing committee of the regional Communist Party, also demanded that monks and nuns recognize what he called the "reactionary nature" of the Dalai Lama clique, as well as plots to use temples and clergy to carry out "infiltration and disturbances," Tibet Daily reported.
On Sunday and Monday, paramilitary police wielding truncheons and rifle butts swiftly broke up the protests in Lithang, a pair of Tibetan advocacy groups said Wednesday. At least 21 people were detained and troops were searching for others who might have joined in the demonstrations, the groups said.
Lithang, like other Tibetan regions, has been practically sealed off from the rest of China by road blocks and travel bans. Tibet's economy and once-thriving tourist industry has taken a walloping since the Lhasa riots, which sparked sympathy protests throughout the Tibetan world, growing into the largest uprising against Chinese rule in nearly 50 years.
This report was provided by AP.