Since August 2nd, atleast 20 Tibetan Buddhists have been arrested outside of Lithang, Kardze (Ganzi). The Tibetans gathered to call for the release of Runggye Adak, who was detained a day earlier at a function marking the 80th Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), organized by the Lithang County government.
Runggye, who recently criticized another Monk for his involvement with a ‘patriotic education’ campaign aimed at the Lithang monastery, was detained after Calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet, for the freedom of the Panchen Lama (who was kidnapped by the Chinese Government when he was 6 years old), and for the end of social disputes over matters of land and water – “a reference to fights that have broken out among Tibetan nomads, often following the division of their land by the authorities in accordance with Beijing’s directives.”
From the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) According to one source, when Runggye was taken offstage by the police, a group of Tibetans tried to negotiate with them, insisting that he hadn’t said anything that was against the law, and only wanted to improve the people’s situation in Lithang.
The same source, a relative of Runggye Adak who is in exile, said: “When he was speaking, I heard that he stressed that he was not saying anything that is against the law. For instance, under Chinese law, people are meant to have religious belief. Everyone in the crowd was shouting their support, particularly when he asked them whether they agreed that His Holiness the Dalai Lama should return to Tibet. He is a deeply religious man and the views he expressed show the strength of his feelings about the welfare of the people in Lithang.” (source)
The ongoing situation intensified when 5,000 Monks gathered at a local Police Station. A 200-strong delegation was sent in to talk to Chinese Officials…
From Radio Free Asia – “When the 200 Tibetans went inside the police station, the main gate was closed behind them,” a local source said. “The police demanded four persons who should speak for the Tibetans. These four were taken inside the police station.”
The delegation, which had forsworn any form of violence even it it was used against them, told police they had come not just to demand Rongyal Adrak’s release, but also human rights, religious freedom and freedom of speech for all Tibetans, the local resident said.
“The police officer demanded that the crowd of protesters move back, otherwise they would shoot and kill all of the 200 Tibetans inside the compound,” he added.
“When more than 5,000 Tibetans were gathered at Lithang police station waiting for the release of Rongyal Adrak, more than 2,000 Chinese police and army moved into the area,” a Tibetan resident of Lithang (in Chinese, Litang) county, Karze prefecture, told RFA’s Tibetan service.
The standoff eased, however, and all the 200 Tibetans were allowed to leave the police station unharmed. (source)
Please use as many as possible of the contacts listed below and request the immediate release of Runggye Adak and all others detained in Lithang. Point out that they were exercising their fundamental human right to free speech and expression and have committed no crime.
1. Write to: Madam Fu Ying, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL
2. Write to: Jiang Jufen, Governor of Sichuan Province, c/o Protocol and Press Division of Foreign Affairs Office of Sichuan Province, 100 Dongsanduan, Yihuanlu, Chengdu 610021
3. Phone/Fax: +86 28 8435 6789
4. Write to: Mr. Pan Hejun, Minister Counsellor of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom,49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL
5. You can also ring and leave a polite message on the “General Line”: 020 7299 4049. If you are unable to get through try the Consular Line: 020 7631 1430
6. If all else fails you can try the urgent consular asssitance mobile number of Ma Wenjun: 0779 5822 752
7. Fax 020 7636 9756 (please still send a hard copy letter in addition to your Fax).
8. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
9. If you live outside the UK and would prefer to contact your local Chinese officials please go to http://www.muztagh.com/chinese-embassy/index.html
Please send copies of any replies you receive to the Tibet Urgent Response Network email@example.com (to help them monitor the situation.)
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.