Chinese repression in Tibet
Satbir Singh Bedi | 24 Mar 2009

More than a thousand Tibetans protested in Ragya, Machen County on Saturday, March 21st in response to an incident in which Tashi Sangpo, a 28 year-old monk from Ragya monastery, jumped into the Yellow river. He was reportedly being held by police under suspicion that he hoisted the Tibetan national flag atop the monastery and distributed leaflets calling for independence on March 10th. His body has not been recovered, but sources familiar with the area believe his survival is highly unlikely.

A Tibetan from Ragya, currently living in India, received mobile phone footage of Saturday’s protest. The footage is of poor quality but clearly shows a large crowd, including many monks, engaged in a protest with some raising their fists in the air. The crowd can be heard sounding the traditional Tibetan rallying cry and shouting what appear to be the commonly used Tibetan slogans "Bod Gyalo" (Victory to Tibet) and "Lha Gyalo" (Victory to the Gods).

Sources in Ragya say the area is now under siege by military forces sent from Xiling (Ch: Xining) and Golok town and Ragya monastery is surrounded by a massive troop presence.

"China's ongoing clampdown in Tibet is driving Tibetans to the brink as resentment and frustration give way to desperate acts that ultimately result in the loss of more Tibetan lives," said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. "It is critical that the Chinese government is held accountable for its violent repression in Tibet and we call on global leaders to directly raise the issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the upcoming G20 Summit in London."