China has disappeared a Tibetan father of three and arrested 10 other Tibetans in an ongoing crackdown in Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
According to information received by TCHRD, a Tibetan father of three, Tenzin Rangdol, 34, was arrested on the morning of 18 October 2013 and is being held incommunicado by the police in Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) Town in Diru County. He was arrested on his way home in Gochu Village no. 4 after walking his children to school. Tenzin Rangdol’s wife is Tsering Pelzom, 26, and the couple has three young children.
The next day, on 19 October 2013, Tenzin Rangdol’s arrest triggered an overnight protest outside the local government office in Shagchu Town, following which more than 10 protesters hailing from Gochu Village were arrested. Those arrested include Shodhar, Dorgyal (perhaps a shortened form of Dorjee Gyaltsen or Dorjee Gyalpo), Lhamo, Kelsang Namdol, Mengyal, and an unidentified son of Mrs Sangmo of Gochu Village.
The protest was staged by about 40 Tibetans from Gochu Village and about a hundred other Tibetans from surrounding villages in Shagchu Town. As local Tibetans in and around Shagchu Town made their way towards the township government office to appeal for the release of Rangdol, local authorities disabled all phone lines in the area and armed police put up road blockades making it difficult for many Tibetans to reach the protest site.
On 19 October 2013 outside the Shagchu government office, local Tibetan appealed for the immediate release of Tenzin Rangdol and criticized the Chinese government’s entrenched practice of criminalising Tibetan people’s peaceful means of expressing their grievances. Quoting local eyewitnesses, a source said, “Local Tibetans gathered outside the township office urged the government stop labeling them ‘splittists’. They said the real cause of ‘splittism’ is the unjust legal system and authoritarian abuse of power. Local Tibetans have maintained throughout the peaceful protest that they have done nothing to split the country as charged by the government.”
The same source told TCHRD that local Tibetans believe the Chinese government intentionally uses “splittist” (or endangering state security) charges against Tibetans to make it near-impossible for them to seek redress and justice.
Protesters spent the night of 19 October 2013 outside the premises of the local government office. By the next morning, armed police clothed in riot gear had surrounded the Tibetans. It was then that 10 protesters were arrested and others were given stern warning. In a telling incident, an identified official from Nagchu Prefecture chided the protesters, “”You all are just like [helpless] eggs hitting a rock. [If you don't behave], we will put you in the same situation like in 1959 and 1969.”