People's Armed Police and unarmed local Tibetans in Garchung Village in Dathang Township, Driru county, Nagchu.

People’s Armed Police and unarmed local Tibetans in Garchung Village in Dathang Township, Driru county, Nagchu. More images below.

New images show a broadening crackdown in Driru (Chinese: Biru), Nagchu prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and protests by local Tibetans at the detentions of a monk and young writer. Further details about an incident in which police opened fire and killed four Tibetans, reported by Radio Free Asia, could not be fully confirmed due to the lockdown in the area and the Chinese authorities’ attempts to prevent news on the tense situation in Driru reaching the outside world. (RFA, Four Tibetans Shot Dead as Protests Spread in Driru County – October 11, 2013).

The unrest in Nagchu follows a drive to enforce loyalty to the CCP through compelling the display of the Chinese flag as part of the Party’s strategy to intensify control across the TAR as the answer to political ‘instability’. At the end of September, hundreds of officials were sent to Nagchu to enforce compliance by monasteries and families in the area.

The images show:

  • Chinese troops in riot gear with helmets and shields confronting elderly, unarmed Tibetans in the Driru area of Nagchu, TAR, after troops opened fire on October 6 on Tibetans calling for the release of a local Tibetan who had objected to orders from a ‘patriotic education’ work team prior to China’s National Day on October 1. The images, posted by exile Tibetans on social media, show that militarization has been dramatically stepped up in area after resistance to the intensified campaign in Nagchu to enforce loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and presence of work teams.
  • Crowds of Tibetans gathered at a police station in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in the Tibetan area of Kham, Sichuan, calling for the release of a monk from a local monastery who may have been detained because he was originally from Nagchu. A monk and nun were injured after Tibetan protestors were dispersed by police.
  • A young Tibetan writer and his friend, a former police officer, who were detained following the Driru unrest. Their whereabouts are unknown.
  • A notice issued by Chinese authorities in Lhasa City that directed various ‘convenience police posts’ in Lhasa and Nagchu to monitor the movement and activities of Nagchu Tibetans days after the violent crackdown in Nagchu ( The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), reported that the notification seeks to put Tibetans from Nagchu who are in Lhasa under 24-hour police surveillance, enabling immediate arrest of those under suspicion.
  • An elderly man, Dayang, 68, who was sentenced to two years and five months for shouting slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan freedom at a cultural show in Tsachu township in Driru county on September 3. According to reports from exile Tibetan sources, Dayang was severely tortured and is now in a military hospital in Lhasa.

Tibetan laypeople and monks protested on October 12 outside a police station in Kardze after the detention of a monk called Kelsang Chodar earlier that day. Kelsang Chodar is a monk at the Palyul monastery in Palyul (Chinese: Baiyu) county in Kardze but is originally from Sog (Chinese: Suo) county in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu). Tibetan sources believe his detention may indicate a broader targeting of people from Nagchu outside the area following the unrest. A source told Radio Free Asia that Chodar, was detained “on suspicion he had spread information on the protests in [Nagchu’s] Driru county.” (RFA, Tibetan Monks March on Police Station to Demand Friend’s Release – October 14, 2013). Tibetans remained at the police station for some hours until police broke up the protest, telling the crowd that Kelsang Chodar had been taken to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan. A monk and a nun were injured as police dispersed the crowd, and no further information is known from the area.

Local people also protested when 27-year old Tibetan writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen (pictured) was taken from his home by police in the middle of the night on October 11 in Driru. Tibetans in two villages and a local middle school staged a hunger strike following the detention, according to Tibetan exile sources in contact with Tibetans in the area. The next day, Tsultrim Gyaltsen’s friend Yugyal was detained, with local officials claiming that he had spread rumors that cause problems for ‘regional social stability’, according to the same sources.

Tsultrim Gyaltsen, a former monk, is a young Tibetan writer who was educated in local primary school, and then studied in various monasteries in Kham and Amdo, including Kirti in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), Shechen and Dzogchen monasteries in Derge county, in Kardze Prefecture. He is known for his lively and perceptive essays and poetry, written in both Tibetan and Chinese. In 2007, he published two books, ‘Chimes of Melancholic Snow’ and the ‘Fate of Snow Mountain’. In 2009, Tsultrim Gyaltsen disrobed and joined the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, Gansu province, where he studied Chinese language and writing. In 2012, together with fellow Tibetan students, he began editing an annual literary journal entitled ‘The New Generation’ and became the chief editor. He also started a blog (, which is currently blocked by the authorities.

According to the same Tibetan sources, just a few months from his graduation in May (2013), Tsultrim Gyaltsen was expelled from the university. TCHRD reported: “It appears that he was expelled for his opinions and writings […] Sources told TCHRD that Tsultrim Gyaltsen often used to hold debate sessions at the university with fellow students. Some of the subjects debated at this informal sessions were deemed ‘illegal’ by the authorities.” (TCHRD, Crackdown in Diru widens: Tibetan writer and a former policeman detained).

Yugyal, a close friend of Tsultrim Gyaltsen who has been detained too, was born in the same village and studied at the same primary school. He worked as a police officer for seven years before resigning some months ago. He started a business based in Driru county. The current whereabouts of Yugyal and Tsultrim Gyaltsen are unknown.

People's Armed Police and unarmed local Tibetans in Garchung Village in Dathang Township, Driru county, Nagchu.

People’s Armed Police and unarmed local Tibetans in Garchung Village in Dathang Township, Driru county, Nagchu.

A convoy of armed police vehicles

A convoy of armed police vehicles arrive in Garchung Village in Dathang Township, Driru county, Nagchu.

Palyul police station

Protestors gather outside Palyul police station calling for the release of monk Kelsang Chodar on October 12.

Distiny of Snow Mountain

Writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen’s book, Distiny of Snow Mountain.

Writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen's book, "Heart-call to the beloved".

Writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen’s book, “Heart-call to the beloved”.

Tsultrim Gyaltsen

Tsultrim Gyaltsen, Tibetan writer.


Yugyal, also detained in Driru.


Dayang, an elderly Tibetan, who was detained and tortured.

Tsering Gyaltsen

Tsering Gyaltsen in hospital after he was injured following violent beatings by troops of villagers who protested against raising the Chinese flag in Driru.