20th July, 2011

Ngawang Phuntsok arrested in Karze on 15 July

DHARAMSHALA: Heavy security control in Tibet’s capital Lhasa demonstrates fear and suspicion was palpable in the Chinese leadership as they arrived there to trumpet the so-called “60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet.”

“Local residents said the city was under tight security controls, with restrictions still in place on foreign tourism and some hotels taken over by armed police,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Monday. “There are a lot [of armed police around … ],” an employee of a guest house in Lhasa told RFA. “Our entire guest house has been given over to receiving [armed police] guests from headquarters.”

The situation in other parts of Tibet, especially in eastern Tibet, remains grim. The Tibetan people in eastern Tibet continue their peaceful protest against the Chinese government as five more Tibetans have been severely beaten and arrested last week.

Since 11 June this year Karze region in Eastern Tibet has been rocked by series of demonstrations by the Tibetans, who made strong calls for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom in Tibet. The Chinese government responded with force resulting in the arrest of over 39 Tibetans so far.

In a latest incident on 15 July, Ngawang Phuntsok, aged 34, along with some Tibetans raised slogans in the main market in Karze. They are immediately beaten severely by the police and taken into custody. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Earlier on 10 July, four Tibetan youths – Samphel Dhondup, 23, Lobsang Phuntsok, 17, Lobsang Lhundup – staged peaceful protest in Karze. The name of the fourth Tibetan is not yet identified. They were also severely beaten and their fates remain unknown.

Samphel Dhondup arrested in Karze on 10 July

His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his deep sadness over the appalling human rights situation in Tibet. “Every week some people get arrested and severely tortured in Tibet, Very very sad. Very sad,” His Holiness said in an interview with NBC’s Today Show on last Saturday. (Watch webcast)

Meanwhile, the US government has underscored its support for the resumption of dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese government to resolve longstanding differences.

“The President encourages the resumption of dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese government to resolve longstanding differences. The U.S. position on the status of Tibet has not changed. We consider Tibet to be part of the People’s Republic of China and do not support independence for Tibet,” White Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his press briefing on 18 July.

“The President’s meeting with the Dalai Lama was an expression of his support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique traditions and the rights of the Tibetan people,” Carney said.

“He is a Nobel Prize Laureate, as you know, and an internationally recognized religious and cultural leader. And the President meets with him, as other Presidents have, in that capacity,” he said.