Tibetan protests in Rebkong

A photo of Tibetan protests in Rebkong that circulated on Twitter and other forms of social media.

Tibetans in Rebkong, Qinghai (the Tibetan area of Amdo) held a bold peaceful protest yesterday (August 14) to complain about brutality by local police after four Tibetans were beaten up. Footage (uploaded to Youtube) and images from Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) yesterday depict crowds of Tibetans gathering peacefully and displaying banners in both Chinese and Tibetan saying: “Rebkong county police brutal beatings of Tibetan people”. Photographs of the four Tibetans who were beaten were also displayed.

According to several Tibetan sources in exile who are in contact with Tibetans in the area, hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the police station in Rebkong county town, Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after four Tibetans were beaten and injured the day before by police. The four Tibetans, named as Kelsang, Kunchok Nyima, Shawo Tsering and Kunchok Norbu, were attacked by police who had impounded their car. According to Tibetan sources, there had been no obvious reason for the Tibetans to be targeted and one of them is seriously injured.

More Tibetans began to join the protest in front of the police station during the day, with older Tibetans urging younger protestors to maintain their non-violent approach. The police closed the gate of the police station and did not emerge during the day.

Footage released by the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia shows a crowd of Tibetans outside the police station, with a second clip showing a number of Tibetans marching peacefully towards the police station shouting that the police had beaten local Tibetans.

Five months ago, the self-immolation of a young monk called Jamyang Palden in Rebkong led to a peaceful gathering of Tibetans at the scene offering prayers, and then protesting Chinese policies. Jamyang Palden set fire to himself on March 14 in Dolma square, near Rongpo monastery, the main monastery in Rebkong. Despite the buildup of troops, images received from Rebkong on the same day show local people gathered at the scene of his self-immolation, quietly praying for him. The gathering led to a peaceful protest, with Tibetans calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. (ICT report, Tensions escalate in Qinghai: Rebkong self-immolation, student protest, monks commemorate March 10).