Tibetan Students Protesting in Rongwo
Tibetan high school students are protesting Chinese rule in the western town of Rongwo, as well as other areas like the Ngoshul Monastery in Aba. Several have set themselves on fire. Meanwhile, China is blocking all of Google’s web services as their 18th Party Congress kicks off, and internally broadcasting about military buildup to subdue the protest.
Hundreds of Tibetans have joined a demonstration in a town in western China, witnesses say, calling for freedom from Chinese rule in the latest act of protest apparently timed to send a signal to the Communist party elite as it gathers in Beijing to induct a new leadership.
The protesters, mostly high school students, marched through the town of Rongwo, shouting for independence and for the return from exile of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, according to residents and people visiting the town.
“It was chaos this morning,” said a Tibetan painter who lives nearby on Friday.
The protest was the largest demonstration after days of growing tensions in the town, which sits at the edge of the Tibetan plateau and is dominated by the 600-year-old Rongwo monastery.
A 22-year-old Tibetan farmer said protesters had started gathering at about 4am near a local high school not far from the monastery and swelled into the thousands.
China has ruled out allowing foreign observers into Tibetan areas amid continuing self-immolation protests, with officials on Friday blaming “exiled separatist forces” for the recent unrest.
On Friday, hundreds of Tibetan students protested in the monastery town of Rebkong (Tongren in Chinese) in north-western Qinghai province. This followed self-immolation protests by an 18-year-old Tibetan, Kalsang Jinpa and a 23-year-old mother, Tamding Tso, in the town earlier this week.
At least six Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the past week, with three teenage monks on Wednesday carrying out protests in the Ngoshul Monastery in Aba, a county in south-western Sichuan that has witnessed most of the at least 68 self-immolations seen in Tibetan areas. Overseas groups said a Tibetan man had also carried out a protest in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) earlier this week.
Below is an NTD Television report on the crisis.