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Tibet News Digest
11. Feb 2012 - 24. Feb 2012

ISSN: 1864-1393

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12. Feb 2012
Writer sentenced
(TCHRD) The Lhasa People's Intermediate Court sentenced Tibetan writer Norbu Tsering to two-year’s imprisonment. He is from Pelyul (Chin: Baiyu) county, Kardze (Chin: Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, and was arrested in 2010. Norbu Tsering was a monk at Rachap monastery and is also a well-known author. Details are not available for the exact charges he faced in court but it is thought that they related to his book: "If you have Oppression and Repression, Then I have Compassion and Truth" [TCHRD translation] in 2008. According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), he was taken to Chushul prison where he is currently serving his sentence.

12. Feb 2012
Two hermitages demolished near Lhasa
(RFA) More than 20 people on spiritual retreat were expelled from the two traditional hermitage sites at Lhalung and Gonpasar, near Lhasa. According to a microblog message sent from Tibet, the hermitages were then "demolished".

13. Feb 2012
Ten of 27 journalists jailed in China are Tibetans
(CPJ) The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its global annual census on imprisoned journalists that 10 out of 27 known journalists imprisoned in the People's Republic of China (PRC) are Tibetans. Six are Uyghurs. CPJ added that the trend dates back to the widespread 2008 and 2009 protests in Tibet and East Turkestan (Chin: Xinjiang) respectively.

13. Feb 2012
Two more set themselves alight
(RFA) A 19-year-old Tibetan monk set himself alight in Ngaba (Chin:Aba) town, Sichuan province, on the same day that an 18-year old nun died, two days after she set fire to herself. Tenzin Choedron, from Ngaba, shouted slogans as she burned until security forces took her away. She died at a Chinese military hospital in the prefectural capital Barkham (Chin: Ma'erkang), according to a statement released by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala. Lobsang Gyatso, a monk from Kirti monastery prefecture, set fire to himself before being beaten and taken away by Chinese security forces, according to RFA sources.

13. Feb 2012
Protests in Sichuan province
(RFA) Two protests were reported by RFA for the weekend of 11-12 February. The first took place in Kyegudo (Chin: Yushu) Yushu TAP. According to RFA 200 Tibetans took part. The second was in Kardze (Chin: Ganzi) town in Kardze TAP, where posters reportedly calling for Tibetan independence were put up. Chinese police detained a Tibetan youth after a poster warning that three more Tibetans were preparing to self-immolate "for the Tibetan cause" appeared on the wall of the local police station. The youth was detained as he shouted slogans in the town centre calling for Tibetan independence and for the return of the Dalai Lama, RFA said.

13. Feb 2012
Dawa Dorje detained
(RFA) An RFA source from inside Tibet, said that Dawa Dorje, who works as a government researcher in Nagchu (Chin: Naqu) prefecture in the TAR, and is also a popular advocate of traditional Tibetan culture and language, was detained at Lhasa's Gonggar Airport. He was returning from organising a conference in Chengdu promoting Tibetan culture. "He was arrested and taken away but details are not known. His family members could not locate him and are desperately trying to find out where he has been detained", the source said.

14. Feb 2012
Monks expelled over Chinese flag
(RFA) Chinese officials from Pashoe (Chin: Basu) county in the TAR’s Chamdo (Chin: Changdu) prefecture ordered monks at the Rawu Shulten monastery in Pashoe to hoist the Chinese national flag and reportedly to display photos of Chinese leaders inside the monastery. When the monks objected, four were expelled. RFA named two of those expelled as Jampa Dondrub and Jampa Thogme, both from Lhago village in Pashoe county.

15. Feb 2012
Tibetan antelope wool seized
(Xinhua) Lhasa Customs seized 85 kg of wool derived from the Tibetan antelope, or Chiru. The wool is used to make Shatoosh and there is an international ban on its trade. After receiving a tip off that three bags of the wool were to be smuggled through the Khasa (Chin: Zham) border crossing to Nepal around the end of August, Lhasa Customs were able to intercept the contraband on 13 September. One suspect was arrested.

15. Feb 2012
New Party Secretary in Ngaba
(AP) Liu Zuoming has been appointed Communist Party Secretary of Ngaba county (Chin: Aba). Liu spent the past three decades working in Sichuan and headed the province's justice bureau until his new appointment. His predecessor in Ngaba, Shi Jun, was promoted to police chief for Sichuan. In a speech posted on the Ngaba government website, Liu told local officials that they "must correctly handle the relationship between stability and development. There can be not the slightest relaxation on stability, nor the slightest paralysis or laxity".

15. Feb 2012
Wen says immolations have no support
(Shanghai Daily) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that monks setting themselves on fire in Tibetan areas in Sichuan and Gansu provinces were extreme acts that did not have popular support. "Any attempts to incite a small number of monks to take extreme acts to undermine stability in Tibet is not in the interests of development in Tibet or the interests of Tibetans", Wen said. "We respect and protect Tibet's ecological environment and traditional culture, respect and protect religious freedom in Tibet", Wen added, answering a question on the issue after a summit with European leaders. Wen said Tibet was an inseparable part of China, which the government has made great efforts at developing.

15. Feb 2012 (1 comments)
Monk charged after repeated detentions
(RFA) Jigme Gyatso, a monk at Labrang monastery in Kanlho (Gannan) prefecture, Gansu province, has been formally charged with "splittist activities" after being repeatedly detained by Chinese authorities for the last six years, RFA reports. Jigme Gyatso was most recently picked up by police on 20 August 2011. His brother brother, Sonam Tsering, received a notice dated 02 January 2012 from the Kanlho Public Security Bureau (PSB) informing him that Jigme Gyatso had been formally charged and inviting family members to respond to the notice within 24 hours. However, the document arrived a month late, RFA said. The family then contacted the PSB office and were told that a decision had already been made regarding Jigme Gyatso’s sentence and that he would be sentenced "soon".

15. Feb 2012
Party chief calls for tighter digital control
(Xinhua) Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief in Tibet, has called for tighter controls for internet and mobile phone usage, and greater online supervision, saying this would help ensure the "absolute security of Tibet's ideology and culture". Chen also called for television access to every household and every temple in the region, so as to "allow the party line and policy to be effectively transmitted to tens of thousands of households into the hearts of the people of various ethnicities, as well as the patriotic and pious monks and nuns". The remarks were made in a statement issued by his office on China.com.cn.

15. Feb 2012
Tibetan writer detained
(RFA; TCHRD) Tibetan writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was detained by around 20 security personnel during a raid on his home in Serthar (Chin: Seda) county, Sichuan province. Gangkye has been a teacher for more than 10 years in Serta, Kardze TAP. He is a prominent writer and author of 'Dhi Ring Ghi Mikchu' (TCHRD translation: Today's Tears).

16. Feb 2012
Tibetan policeman switched sides
(RFA) A traffic policeman from Machu (Chin: Maqu) county, Kanlho, was handed a four-and-a-half-year jail term for "rebelling" during the protests of 2008. RFA reports that Sherab had been a monk but joined the Chinese police force, where he served for four years. When Tibetans in Machu protested against Chinese rule in 2008, Sherab switched sides. He was detained sometime in May or June of 2008, and since then nothing was heard about him. Sherab was sentenced by the Kanlho People’s Intermediate Court.

17. Feb 2012
Monk burns protesting against monastery intrusion
(RFA) Damchoe Sangpo, a monk at the Bongtak monastery in Themchen (Chin: Tianjun) county of Tsonub (Chin: Haixi) M&T AP, Qinghai province, set himself alight after unsuccessfully objecting to police intrusion in the monastery. Damchoe Sangpo, who was aged about 40, was a former disciplinarian, a member of the Discipline Management Committee and a teacher at Bongtak. Earlier, around the Chinese New Year festival, security was increased in the monastery, resulting in severe restrictions on monastic activities. Damchoe died soon after setting himself alight. It is not clear whether the authorities or monks are now in possession of his body.

20. Feb 2012
Teenage self-immolation in Dzamthang
(TCHRD) According to TCHRD sources, Nangdrol, a monk aged 18, set himself on fire in front of the Dzamthang Jonang monastery, in Barma village, Dzamthang (Chin: Rangtang) county, Ngaba TAP. He died on the spot. Police officers who reached the area tried to take his body away but the monks of the Zamthang Jonang Monastery managed to take possession of it. The monks later performed rituals and prayers for the deceased.

20. Feb 2012
China extends railway line to increase fertilizer supply
(Xinhua) Construction has started on a railway extension in Qinghai province to increase potash supply, used to make fertilizer. The 25.3 km-long rail extension will link the base of Zangge Potash Co., Ltd in Qaidam basin, with the Golmud-Lhasa railway, and will have the capacity to carry 3.5 million tonnes of fertilizer each year, Chinese officials said. The rail project is managed by China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Ltd. It is expected to be finished by the end of August 2012, Xinhua reports.

20. Feb 2012
Railway brings more visitors to Golmud
(Xinhua) Golmud city in Qinghai province, a major stop on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, received 4.16 million visitors from 2006 to 2011, said Chen Xu, director of the Golmud Municipal Tourism Bureau. More than 6.5 million people travelled on the Golmud-Lhasa railway in 2011, up 9 per cent from 2010, the railway company has said. The railway also transported 40 million tonnes of cargo in 2011, up 8 per cent year-on-year.

21. Feb 2012
Over 40% of Tibetan cadres are women
(Xinhua) According to authorities with the Tibetan Women's Federation (TWF) in Lhasa, women account for over 41.4 per cent of all cadres in the TAR and about 34 per cent of government institutions' staff. TWF provided no particulars about the ethnic composition of staff and cadres. Women also comprise 22 per cent of deputies to Tibet's regional People's Congress and 20.6 per cent of the members of Tibet's regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said Tsamcho, president of the TWF.

21. Feb 2012
Nepalis banned from crossing into Tibet
(HNS) The Chinese administration has banned Nepalis from entering Tibet from the Taplejung border. Tashi Sherpa, from Olangchungola, told the Himalayan News Service (HNS) that Chinese police had recently informed them not to attempt to enter Tibet for four months. He said that they were given no reason for the ban. There was a similar ban in March 2011.

23. Feb 2012
Losar protests in Tibet
(Phayul; RFA) According to Phayul sources, a group of Tibetans led by a reincarnate lama, Tengyal Tulku, gathered in Serthar to pray for the long life of the Dalai Lama. Reportedly, 60 more Tibetans joined the protest, carrying the banned Tibetan national flag and banners bearing the names of Tibetans who have self-immolated. They also demanded the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet. No immediate arrests were made but Chinese security personnel at the scene "took many pictures" of the protesters. RFA reports that 25 monks in neighbouring Qinghai province have been detained for leading a march demanding freedom. An RFA source said: "They are now detained in a school building near the monastery and are being forced to undergo rigorous political re-education campaigns".

24. Feb 2012
Sichuan Party chief warns Tibetans against separatism
(BBC) Sichuan Communist Party chief Liu Qibao visited a monastery and villages in Ngaba and Kardze counties. He was quoted by the state-run Sichuan Daily newspaper as telling monks to support the Communist Party. "We should resolutely crack down on separatist activities and crimes of all kinds, uphold state unification, ethnic unity and the normal legal order. This upholds the basic interests of the people and upholds their religious freedom", Mr Liu said. The paper reports that Mr Liu visited Kirti monastery, which is under tight security. Mr Liu also reportedly met security forces in the region during his visit.

24. Feb 2012
Zhu Weiqun suggest scrapping ethnic distinction
(SCMP; ToI) Zhu Weiqun, deputy director of the United Front Work Department, has suggested the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to amend laws concerning Tibetans during their upcoming annual meetings in March. Zhu Weiqun, an interlocutor with the Dalai Lama's envoys, said that mentioning the ethnicity and minority status on identity cards of Tibetans erodes their sense of nationalism and cohesion.

24. Feb 2012
China to join regional anti-poaching network as observer only
(Myrepublica; TibetInfoNet) At the first ever Nepal-China joint forestry working group meeting, Chinese delegates led by Minister of State Forestry, Jia Zhibang, assured Nepali delegates that they would participate as an observer in the South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) - a mechanism of eight Asian countries formed to tackle wildlife poaching and trade across the region. With China being the main consumer of illicit wildlife products, mainly from South Asia, the SEWAN member states had hoped China would enter the new organisation as a full member. However, China has repeatedly made it clear that it intends to continue its own strategy of handling wildlife, as other issues, on a bilateral basis.

24. Feb 2012
Tibetan businessman arrested
(RFA) Chinese authorities in Sichuan have detained a Tibetan businessman suspected of involvement in a protest on 08 February 2012 in Nangchen (Chin: Nangqian) county, Qinghai province, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. The man, identified as Tamdin, was taken into custody at Chengdu airport in Sichuan after taking a flight from Xining, a US-based source told RFA. No arrests were made at the time of the protest but Chinese authorities, acting on photographic and video evidence, now appear to be rounding up prominent participants. According to Tamdin's family, his present whereabouts are unknown.

24. Feb 2012
Monks fleeing monastery
(Pahyul) Following the recent self-immolation death of the young monk Nangdrol and protests in Dzamthang, Ngaba, monks of the Samdrupling Jonang monastery in the region are reportedly fleeing the monastery fearing persecution from Chinese authorities. "Following the protests, Chinese authorities have banned all the religious activities and ritual ceremonies in the monastery", a Phayul source said. "Because of the large presence of Chinese security personnel at the monastery and increasing political pressure, many of the monks are fleeing to the mountains fearing further persecution from Chinese government authorities", he added.

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