Tibetans were reported to have been arrested for displaying images of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on their altars in the month of June and July surrounding the birth anniversary of their spiritual leader on 6 July 2022. Two recent reports indicate that an unnamed Tibetan man from Karze has been beaten severely and two Tibetan sisters have been arrested and detained following accusations of keeping portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at home.
In June, a Tibetan man aged 60 from Karze county was arrested by Chinese authorities and beaten badly for allegedly displaying a huge portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his home. In an unannounced raid, police found the portrait and confiscated it immediately.
According to a report from the Tibet Times, the unnamed Tibetan was arrested by Karze (Ch: Ganzi) county officials in June and taken to the County jail, where he is believed to be incarcerated currently.
He was in perfect health prior to the arrest, but his health reportedly deteriorated during his detention due to severe beatings and torture. While in police custody, the source stated that the man had to go to hospital, although the reason remains unclear.
A source explained that the man was taken back to the county jail after being discharged from the hospital; the current situation surrounding the case remains unclear.
Abrupt arrests of Tibetan siblings
According to other reports, a Tibetan woman was arrested in Nagchu’s Amdo county (Ch: Anduo) on 11 July for assisting her sister Zumkar in keeping a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in their household.
In the days following Zumkar’s arrest by the Chinese authorities on 23 June for possessing portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, her younger sister, Youdon, was arrested on 11 July for allegedly acting with her sister in keeping the portrait. Youdon is said to be being held in a detention center in Lhasa. At this point, the fate of both siblings remains unknown.
In the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Youdon, aged around 20s, hails from Tsarang (Ch: Zharen) township of Amdo county in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) prefecture. From a very young age, she and her older sister Zumkar, 27, were raised in a nomadic family.
As of May of this year, the Chinese government has intensified surveillance of Tibetans and tourists in and around Lhasa and the surrounding Tibetan areas, including searching phones and homes for signs of dissent, such as possession of pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and maintaining contact with Tibetan in exiles. Tibetan children and party members are prohibited from entering monasteries to participate in religious offerings or attend religious teachings.
Furthermore, Chinese authorities stepped up their surveillance of Tibetan people in the days leading up to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birth anniversary, ensuring no Tibetans showed reverence towards their leader. Tibetans who did show reverence were severely punished if they were found doing so.
-Filed by the UN, EU, and the Human Rights Desk, Tibet Advocacy Section, DIIR