DHARAMSHALA, April 26: Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay’s native village Mola (spelled as pronounced) in Lithang, eastern Tibet is facing severe repression after Tibetans in the region refused to sign a letter condemning the elected Tibetan leader’s pledge of facilitating the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
According to Adruk Tseten, a member of the Tibetan Parliament, Tibetans in Mola, as well as in the wider Lithang region, were instructed by the Chinese authorities to sign a seven-point letter on the pretext of regulating the seasonal yartsa gunbu business.
“But when the Tibetans came to know that the letter condemned Kalon Tripa’s pledge of His Holiness’ return to Tibet, blamed the Dalai Lama for inciting the self-immolations in Tibet and categorically opposed the “splittist activities of the Dalai clique,” they refused to sign,” Tseten told Phayul.
In response, around 500 Chinese security personnel arrived in Mola and told a gathering of the entire villagers that they will have to sign the letter, while encouraging them to talk about their problems so that the officials can help solve them.
“At the persistence of the Chinese officials, an old Tibetan woman stood up and said that her biggest problem was her repeated failure to secure a permit to visit India and meet the Dalai Lama before her death,” Tseten said.
“Then another old woman stood up and recounted that her biggest problem was the death of her two siblings during China’s invasion of Tibet,” the Tibetan MP said.
Angered by the response, Chinese security personnel started severely beating the gathered Tibetans and cut their hair, irrespective of age and sex.
In a revival of Cultural Revolution tactics, the villagers were forced to beat and ridicule each other in public over the signing of the letter.
“Even the family members were forced to beat each other in public in a similar tactic that was widely used during the infamous Cultural Revolution in Tibet,” Tseten said.
The entire region of Mola is currently reeling under a heavy security clampdown as Chinese authorities look to carry out the signature drive in the nearby regions of Lithang as well.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a ten-year political campaign initiated by Chairman Mao in 1966. Millions of people were persecuted in the violent factional struggles that ensured across China and Tibet.