Protesting monks detained as protests in Tibet continue to spread

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Protests in Tibet continue to spread

The latest sizeable protests against Chinese rule in Tibet took place between 12 and 1pm (local time) yesterday (20 March 2012) in Bhora Township, Sangchu county, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Eastern Tibet (1).


More than 100 monks from Bhora monastery marched towards the township-level government buildings carrying Tibetan flags and pictures of Dalai Lama. They were calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. They demonstrated in front of the building for more than 10 minutes.

The monastery’s Democratic Management Committee (2) stopped them from protesting and lay people pleaded with them to go back to the monastery, which they did. The military then surrounded the monastery.

At around 6pm, the gate to the monastery was locked by the Democratic Management Committee and officials from township government. The monks were told that no one was allowed to leave until those who were protesting turned themselves in and handed over the flags and pictures. They warned that there would be serious consequences for everyone if this wasn’t obeyed.

At around 2.30am (local time) this morning (21 March 2012), authorities came to the monastery, arrested 40 monks and took them to the township-level government buildings. The remaining monks said they would start another protest if the 40 were not released.

At around 11.00am (local time) this morning the authorities released the 40 monks but still demanded the surrender of those who protested.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“China and the international community need to recognise that protests will continue for as long as the current situation in Tibet remains as it is. More and more Tibetans are standing up for their basic freedom and an end to Chinese repression. It’s time for governments around the world to break their silence and speak out on their behalf.”

The monastery has faced heavy restrictions since protests there in 2008. These tightened after Losar this year (3) when monks in the monastery displayed a picture of Dalai Lama.


Notes to editors

1. Chinese: Bola, Xiahe County, Gannan Zangzu, Gansu Province

2. Under Chinese rule, government-controlled Democratic Management Committees (DMCs) have been introduced to control the basic affairs of monasteries and nunneries, including control over the admission, training, movement, teaching and discipline of members of the clergy. DMCs are also responsible for suggesting potential candidates for reincarnation; candidates must then be submitted to the autonomous regional government for approval. All these functions were for centuries overseen by monastic bodies.

3. Tibetan New Year; 22 February 2012

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

For interviews and further information please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

M: +44 7971 479 515
T: +44 207 324 4605