Dharamshala: - On December 5, eight Tibetan students were sentenced to five years in Chinese prison after being arrested for their participation in a protest in November. 18 other students remain in police custody and await sentencing, along with three monks accused of spreading news of the demonstration.
According to the International Campaign for Tibet, receiving information from exiles with contacts in Tibet, the demonstration was a reaction to pamphlets distributed by the Chinese government that vilified the self-immolators and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) explained that students from Tsolho Professional Training School initiated a march on a government building, chanting for freedom and Tibetan language rights. RFA, quoting a Chinese source, revealed that after students burned copies of the pamphlet Chinese paramilitary police, “beat up the students, hurled tear gas at them” and used some type of explosive on the crowd. The local source reported that more than 20 students were injured.
Communications director for the International Campaign for Tibet pointed out that such protests, which occur frequently throughout occupied Tibet, highlight the intense antipathy and despair felt by young Tibetans in regards to Chinese policy. Educational policies that force Mandarin language instruction and ban Tibetan are a common grievance amongst youth.
On December 12 Chinese police in Tsekhag county, Amadho region, arrested five more Tibetans.
Two men, Chukthar (47) and Shawo (30), one monk from Dorje monastery, Tsundu (49), and two nuns, Cheodun and Rigshad (sister of Sangye Dolma, a nun who self immolated on November 25) have been arrested and are considered ‘disappeared’ persons.
Family members and media sources remain unaware of the reason for the detainment of these five Tibetans.