DHARAMSHALA, March 16: The clampdown on Tibetan intellectuals and activists continues in Tibet with the recent arrests of four Tibetan environmental activists in Tawu, eastern Tibet.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a release yesterday said that the four arrested were members of a locally-founded environment group.
“Four Tibetan environmental activists, all members of the locally-founded Tawu Environmental Protection Association, were arrested in mid-February 2012 by the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers at Tawu (Chinese: Luohuo) County in Kardze (Chinese Ganzi) Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province,” TCHRD said citing sources in Tibet.
“Lumbu from Chagya village, Dakpa from Khucha village, Dawa from Yulo village, and an unidentified Tibetan man from Loru village were arrested and questioned by PSB officials,” the release added.
According to TCHRD, the Tawu Environmental Protection Association was founded informally in 2011 by local Tibetans hailing from various villages in Tawu County.
The group had earlier organised protests against “rampant mining, deforestation, and smuggling of wildlife products” in the region and in other cases, fined Chinese fishermen for fishing in sacred rivers.
“The association has 50 members representing many villages in Tawu,” the release said. “All the members are well-educated with considerable standing and respect in the local community.”
Since the mass uprisings of 2008, China has systematically cracked down on Tibetan intellectuals and activists, banning many organisations as well literary and cultural magazines and websites.
Last month, Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, a popular author, was arrested from his home in Serthar, eastern Tibet. He had worked as a teacher for about a decade and authored popular compositions in Tibetan such as "Call of Fate," "Pain of This Era" and "Today’s Tear of Pain."
In January, Dawa Dorje, a prominent lawyer and a government researcher in Nagchu, who has been a popular advocate of Tibet’s culture and language was disappeared by Chinese authorities from Lhasa’s Gonggar Airport.
Following the instances of self-immolations and recent protests in Tawu, the entire region is reeling under a heavy security clampdown.
"These days, Tibetans in Tawu are required to attend many meetings addressed by local officials who give lengthy speeches asking the Tibetans not to participate in Tibetan 'separatists' activities and threatening them of dire consequences if they did," TCHRD said.