Lone protester raises Tibetan flag against visiting Chinese official
Ngawang, carrying the banned Tibetan national flag, marched on the main street of Gonjo, raising slogans for the long life of the Dalai Lama and an end to China’s brutality.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, in a release today said Ngawang carried out his lone protest on July 22, coinciding with the visit of a senior Chinese official from nearby Chamdo.
“Ngawang marched in the middle of the main road in Gonjo, waving the Tibetan national flag and throwing prayer scrolls (lungta) in the air,” the release said. “He raised slogans for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and demanded an end to Chinese brutality in Tibet.”
Calling for unity and peace amongst the Tibetan people, he urged his fellow countrymen to join the fight against the Chinese government.
Following his protest, Chinese police arrested Ngawang. The Tibetan Parliament said his whereabouts and well being is not known yet.
“Sources say Ngawang’s case will be handled by officials in either Lhasa or Chamdo but as of now, his whereabouts are unclear,” the release said.
Since the 2008 pan-Tibet uprisings, the entire region has witnessed repeated protests against the Chinese rule. Major peaceful protests this year have resulted in the death, injury and arrest of scores of Tibetans.
The ongoing wave of self-immolations has already witnessed an alarming number of 45 Tibetans setting themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The elected head of the Tibetan people, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay has called the self-immolations “political action” and blamed China’s failed policies in Tibet – founded on “political oppression, social marginalisation, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction” – as root causes of the protests.
“To understand these acts, it is crucial to know that within China, there is no room for freedom of speech and conventional forms of protest. A participant in a simple demonstration runs a high risk of arrest, torture and even death,” Dr Sangay wrote for the Washington Post this month.
“Were the Chinese government to offer to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully through dialogue, the self-immolations would end immediately.”