By B. Raman
According to Tibetan sources in the Sichuan province of China, leaflets in the Tibetan language have been circulating in the Tibetan areas of the province calling for a day of protests and fasting on October 19 in solidarity with a similar observance by Tibetans all over the world to condemn the continued oppression of the Tibetans by the Chinese and the military detention of a large number of Tibetan monks of the Kirti monastery in the province since March following the self-immolation of a young monk.
Anger over the military detention of the monks ostensibly for self-education has led to seven incidents of self-immolation by monks since then. The anger has been further aggravated by the arrests of many monks by the Chinese on charges of abetment at suicide for not stopping the self-immolations and by the Chinese refusal to hand over the dead bodies of the monks who committed self-immolation to the monastery or the village to which they belonged. The Chinese have been cremating the dead bodies and handing over only the ashes.
Since the beginning of this month there has been a number of incidents of peaceful street protests and closing down of shops by Tibetans in the Sichuan province. Three days of protests and shop closures between October 8 and 10 have been reported from the Ngaba area of Sichuan . There have been many incidents of Tibetan flags being hoisted in public places after removing the Chinese national flags. The Chinese authorities have detained a number of persons to interrogate them as to who is behind these incidents, but they have not been able to stop such incidents
In one incident reported on October 13 from the Khakor subdistrict of Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture, some local Tibetans managed to remove a Chinese flag from a police station and hoist a Tibetan flag .
On October 1, the Chinese National Day, about 200 Tibetans had staged a protest demonstration at Serthar after the police tore a Tibetan flag and a large photo of his Holiness the Dalai Lama from a building and threw them into the street.
There has been a war of words between the Chinese authorities and the Tibetan Government-in-exile headed by Harvard-educated Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay over these incidents. On October 11, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin accused the members of the so-called “Dalai clique” of not only failing to condemn the self-immolations, but also publicizing them to inspire more self-immolations. The Tibetan government-in-exile condemned these remarks and said that China should first put an end to its “repression” in Tibet. It also accused Chinese security personnel of violating basic human rights by assaulting monks who attempted self-immolation.
No incidents have been reported from Tibet itself. The protest movement has till now been confined to the Sichuan province.