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6 september 2012 002Dharamshala: The conditions of Tibetans residing in eastern Tibet have recently worsened, with numerous cases of unexplained arrests and public protests in Chamdo Region, Kham Prefecture.

On August 30, Chinese police arrested around 70 monks from four monasteries in Gonjo County, Chamdo. The reasons for the arrests remain unclear, and the Chinese authorities claim the monks were taken to "legal education classes" for 15 days. Many local people believe they are actually being held in detention, and the authorities have not specified what their fate will be upon the conclusion of the 'classes'.

Further, monks and lamas of Chamdo Region have been instructed to seek permission from the Chinese government before travelling to other counties. If they are caught travelling outside of their county without permission, they face the threat of being charged and punished.

Meanwhile, local Chinese government officials faced resistance from the other end of Chamdo Region when they tried to commence a mining project at Samlong Mountain near Raja monastery (one of the monasteries where the 70 monks were arrested). On August 19, county officials arrived at the mountain but faced oppositon from local villagers.

Many villagers camped around the holy mountain, holding protest posters, including one emphasising Point 44 of the Chinese Constitution, which focuses on environmental preservation. They also sent letters of  complaint to province officials, but reportedly have yet to receive any response.

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