Four Tibetan youth in Nangchen County in north eastern Qinghai Province were arrested on 26 July 2008 by the Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials for protesting against the Summer Festival planned by the Chinese government to greet the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

According to sources, the Chinese authorities of Nangchen County, Jyekundo (Ch: Yushu) “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’) in Qinghai Province, have ordered all the township and villages authorities under it’s administration to prepare and bring out a festive spectacle/performance during the planned summer festival in Drokshog Township, Nangchen County, to greet the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The planned five days Summer Festival with song and dance, and custom competition among villages at Drokshog Township in Nangchen County was officially announced about two months ago ordering compulsory participation from each family with rehearsal date set on 25 July 2008. It was confirmed that lyrics of songs prepared by each and every villages were thoroughly scrutinized by the authorities to ensure that no songs contain lyric latent with bereavement message of separation or message in praise of the exiled Dalai Lama or Gyalwa Karmapa. The people were known to have shown great displeasure over stern enforcement by the Chinese authorities.

On 26 July 2008, just three days before the actual commencement of the Summer festival, four Tibetans from Nangchen County – Asang Bersatsang, 21 years old, Ngoesoe Konkyaptsang, 35 years old, Jamsang and Gadho (age unknown) shouted slogans in the presence of a large number of local government officials and people at the site of the planned summer festival in Drokshog Township where people were setting up tents and making preparation for the festival. The four voiced their disapproval of the summer festival to greet the Olympic Games by saying, “this is not the year to celebrate as Tibetans have suffered untold repression under the Chinese regime, rather it is time to mourn and offer prayers (for those died and imprisoned in recent protests across Tibet),” “we want freedom” and “the Dalai Lama should return to Tibet”. After their protest, while distributing pamphlets, the four requested Tibetans at the festival site to return to their respective villages. According to the source, Tibetans who have gathered for the festival preparation at Drokshog Township packed up their tents and gears in solidarity with the protesters leaving only the government tents at the festival ground. The Chinese authorities’ planned summer festival at Drokshog Township in Nangchen County, to greet the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, was not able to go off because of mass pull out by people following protest by four Tibetans.

According to sources, in the same evening the four Tibetans were arrested from Drokshog Township by Nangchen County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials and detained at Nangchen County PSB Detention Centre. Following their detention, residents of Drokshog Township wrote an appeal letter to the County authorities on 28 July calling for their immediate release and stated that people will continue to stand behind until their release from the Detention Centre. As of now, there is no further information on the four arrested Tibetans.

The Centre expresses its serious concern at the continuous detention of the Tibetans, whose only crime had been expression of their opinion in a peaceful manner. The constitution and law of China guarantees its citizen the right to freedom of expression and opinion. In this context, TCHRD believes that the four Tibetans have not violated the laws of land and had resorted to any action that undermine the Chinese constitution. TCHRD therefore appeals to the Chinese authorities to immediately release all the detained Tibetans solely for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in her Constitution and various international human rights covenants that she is party to. TCHRD is particularly concerned about the level of strict security and repression that has been imposed on the daily lives of people in the name of pre-Olympic security sweep across Tibet and other areas.

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