Reports of crackdown on Tibetan activists especially those who have recently visited India continue to come out of remote areas of China even as authorities intensify security as Tibetans get ready to celebrate New Year on February 22.
Unconfirmed reports sourced from international organisations said that a 40-year-old Buddhist monk set himself afire in the Sichuan province last week.
In another development, author Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, was detained by police last week and is yet to be released.
Kyab’s reported detention was preceded, according to Radio Free Asia, by the alleged detention of a popular advocate of Tibet’s traditional culture and language. “Dawa Dorje, in his late 20's and a government researcher in Nagchu (in Chinese, Naqu) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), was believed detained after expressing concern over the closure of Tibetan monasteries, Radio Free Asia said, quoting sources.
The incidents could not be independently verified.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch indicated that authorities in the restive regions were targeting Tibetan activists who had visited India in the recent past.
“The Chinese government should immediately release Tibetans who have been detained by local police and are being forced to undergo political re-education after travelling to India to listen to religious teachings there,” group said.
Dalai Lama who has been accused of fomenting trouble and inciting self-immolations is based out of Dharamshala in India.
The organisation said the detained Tibetans had returned to Lhasa or other Tibetan areas from religious teachings given by the Dalai Lama between December 31, 2011, and January 10 this year. “ The Chinese authorities allowed approximately 7,000 Tibetans to travel to Nepal or India during this period in what appeared to be a sign of relaxation. However, that changed against a backdrop of unrest in the eastern Tibetan areas and apparent fears it might spread to Lhasa,” an HRW report said on its website.
It added that a number of them travelled directly to India using visas issued by India, indicating that on this occasion the Chinese authorities had not placed restrictions on travel to India in Tibetans’ passports, as in the past. “There is no known regulation banning Tibetans from attending the teachings, and the returnees undergoing re-education have not been accused of any crime, such as carrying illicit documents or crossing the Chinese border without permission,” the report said.