གཟའ་ཕུར་བུ། ༢༠༢༤/༠༥/༢༣

Tibetan Protest Marks 2008 Massacre

FILE - A monk is seen holding a picture of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
FILE - A monk is seen holding a picture of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Another Tibetan monk has been detained in Sichuan province after he carried out a lone protest over Chinese rule one day after the anniversary of a 2008 massacre of Tibetan protesters.

Sources say Lobsang Kalsang, a 19-year-old monk from the Kirti monastery, is reported to have walked for several minutes in Ngaba, a mostly ethnic Tibetan town, holding a portrait of the Dalai Lama in one hand and throwing paper prayer flags into the air with the other.

Kanyang Tsering, a monk at from the same monastery who now lives in India, told VOA that Lobsang Kalsang shouted, “Freedom for Tibet” and, “Let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet,” before he was subdued and taken into custody.

March is a significant month for protests across Tibet because of the March 10, 1959, National Uprising against what Tibetans see as China’s occupation of their homeland. But in Ngaba, it is most recently remembered for the police shooting of peaceful protesters in 2008, when as many as 20 people were reported killed and hundreds more wounded.

The shooting is seen by many as being the catalyst for the first Tibetan self-immolation, which took place in Ngaba one year after the bloody crackdown. Since then, four other monks in the Kirti monastery have carried out self-immolations during the month of March.

Kalsang’s street protest on Tuesday is the second solo protest carried out in Ngaba this month. On March 8, 18-year-old Gendun Phuntsok took to the same street, also carrying a portrait of the Dalai Lama and calling for his return to Tibet.

The condition and whereabouts of both monks are unknown at present.

Meanwhile, police in Tibet have arrested seven monks at another monastery known for protests against Chinese rule.

Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan based in Dharamsala, told VOA's Tibetan Service that monks from the Sog Tsenden Monastery were taken away late last week.

"The area where the incident occurred has been under heightened security with over 50 CCTV cameras installed in the monastery to monitor the activities of the monks. Because of such strict restrictions, monks in the area are said to be subjected to constant harassment," he said.

He said authorities have not publicly given a reason for the arrests.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Tibetan Service.