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22 may 2010 4Dharamsala:The Chinese government recently sent official authorities to Machu County, Eastern Tibet - the site of a recent student protest - to ensure the teaching and advancement of its political propaganda reports Dolkar Kyab, a Tibetan researcher at Norbulinka Institute.

On March 14th a group of 25 Middle School students calling themselves the Tibetan Language Promotion Association staged a protest for Tibetan independence. Some 500 locals joined in the spontaneous demonstration before authorities intervened and arrested 20 of the youths involved.

Chinese officials say they have blocked the display of photos of the 10th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choephel and Dhondup Gyal in classrooms. Students are now forbidden to pray or to keep Rosary (prayer beads), while books and other material with religious content have been banned.

The leaders of the demonstration, 17 year old students Tsering Dhondup and Thupten Nyima were tortured for five days when detained. Both were bound and hung from the roof and given electric shocks. They were also denied food for the duration of their detention. After their release, both were expelled from the school, and sent away from their homes.

At present, the parents of the Tsering and Thupten are not permitted to see them, and can only send food once a week.

Chinese authorities told teachers of Machu County Tibetan Middle School that were not being properly assertive and accused some of actively misleading students into their political activism. A total of 21 teachers were given fines, including Lobsang Rabgyal and Pema Dorjee from Qinghai Province who were fined their salary for five years.