Sunday, November 2, 2008

'A choked silence'; images from Tibet of crackdown

New images and footage from Tibet depict the continuing crackdown in Tibet and convey an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across the plateau. Although Beijing has sought to impose an information blackout, reports on the situation on the ground in Tibet continue to emerge following six months of protest across Tibet since the March 10 anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. In some areas, there have been reports of a continued or even increased presence of troops and security personnel on the ground after the 2008 Summer Olympics, which supports fears that repression would intensify once the global focus shifted away from the Beijing Games. This photo-story presents new testimony from Tibet indicating the scale of the continued repression.

News of Tibetans facing trial in Tibet following the protests continues to filter through despite the dangers of passing on such information to outside sources, and despite the restrictions imposed on internet and cell phone communications. According to reports received in the last few days, two monks from Kirti monastery in eastern Tibet are appearing in Ngaba county [Chinese: Aba] court this week to face charges linked to dissent in recent months, together with Jamyang Nyima, a 30-year-old monk from Thongri monastery in Ngaba who was arrested on March 30 and several other lay people, whose names are not known. The two Kirti monks, Dorjee and Kungar, are both in their early twenties and were detained on April 23. According to the same reports from reliable exile sources, families of the defendants have not been informed of their whereabouts or status and fear that legal representation is not being made available to them. The same sources said that since the March protests began, around 20 people in the Ngaba area have been sentenced on charges believed to be related to their participation in protests and dissent.

Images taken by a Taiwanese-American tourist in eastern Tibet featured with this report show a heavily armed police presence in summer in the Tibetan area of Kham in the towns of Lithang (Ch: Litang) and Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) in Sichuan province. The visitor described the area as being "like a war-zone". Images of military on the streets of Lhasa in September are also shown with this report, together with further evidence of continued disappearances and detention, with Tibetans experiencing extreme brutality while in custody.

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