China cracks down on Tibetans protesting dam

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The Chinese government has reportedly detained more than 1,000 Tibetans amidst

Monks and residents of Upper Wonto Village plead with officials outside Yena Monastery (photo: CSW)

protests over a dam project that would force two villages to relocate and destroy six Buddhist monasteries in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province.

According to Radio Free Asia, police have detained more than 1,000 Tibetans since 22 February, including monks and local residents, who peacefully protested the dam construction or called for the release of the detained Tibetans. They were held in various locations in Dege county in Kardze Tibetan Prefecture.

More than 100 Buddhist monks from Wonto and Yena monasteries in Upper Wonto village are among the detained Tibetan protesters. There are reports of detainees being deprived of food and being violently beaten by police.

Wonto Monastery is famous for its ancient architecture and murals dating back to the 13th century.

In a statement issued on X (formerly Twitter) the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Urza Zeya said: ‘These centuries-old monasteries are home to hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks & contain irreplaceable cultural relics. The United States stands with Tibetans in preserving their unique cultural, religious, and linguistic identity.’

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘CSW calls on China to immediately release all those who have been detained for peacefully protesting the planned destruction of six Buddhist monasteries. The government must respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, and we urge the international community to hold it to account for its continued failure to do this.’ — Christian Solidarity Worldwide