Authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) prefecture beat a Tibetan man and detained him for two days last month on suspicion of maintaining contacts outside of the region, a Tibetan source in exile said Friday.
News of the incident was delayed in reaching outside media contacts owing to communications clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.
Jampa Choegyal, 30, was taken into custody by police sometime in July while attending the Tsechok festival at Chuwar monastery, in Chamdo’s Dragyab (Chaya) county, the source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“While he was at the festival, he received a call from a Chinese official directing him to report to Nortom township, located about a mile [1.6 kilometers] from Chuwar monastery,” the source said.
“When he arrived at the township, he was immediately detained and also beat up. Jampa Choegyal and other Tibetans from his hometown had no clue why the police summoned him or why he was being detained.”
Choegyal was taken to a police station in the seat of Dragyab county and held for two days, the source said, adding that officers repeatedly questioned him about his connection to his relative Ngawang Jampa, who had recently moved to Australia after fleeing Tibet to India.
“He was also asked if any of his family members are in touch with Ngawang Jampa and so on,” he said.
“However, when they could not nail him down on any specific evidence of contact with outside relatives, he was released.”
According to the source, authorities confiscated Choegyal’s cellphone on his release and called him “after a few days” to retrieve it.
“At that time, the authorities were more explicit about his relative Ngawang Jampa who, according to them, is an active collaborator in the ‘Dalai clique,’” he said, referring to Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.
“They warned him not to contact [Jampa] for his own safety.”
Choegyal, who is from Dragyab’s Khargang Sotri township, is the son of Dorje Namgyal and Dorje Dolkar, the source said.
Beijing rejects the Dalai Lama’s call for a “middle way” solution of a semiautonomous Tibet under Chinese rule, and accuses him and his supporters of campaigning to split Tibet from the rest of China.
Chinese campaigns to monitor the political views of Tibetan villagers have been particularly intrusive in Chamdo prefecture, with families forced to display photographs of Chinese national leaders, and monasteries and private homes ordered to fly the Chinese national flag from their roofs, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
In December, Chinese police attacked and beat a group of villagers in the prefecture’s Chamdo county who arrived late for a lecture on public health, sending several to the hospital and detaining others in a county jail, Tibetan sources said at the time.
Following the assault, police and local authorities raided and searched family homes, questioning those found there, they said.
In April last year, a source living in Chamdo told RFA that a Tibetan man named Tashi, who was detained by Chinese police at the Tsangshul detention center in Markham (in Chinese, Mangkang) county on unknown charges, had killed himself in custody to end brutal torture at the hands of his jailers.
He had been taken into custody by police shortly before the March 10 anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
Reported by Sangay Dorjee for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.