Chinese Military Surrounds Tibetan Town

By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times
March 23, 2009 Updated: March 23, 2009

Following a Tibetan protest Saturday, Eastern Tibet is under siege by the Chinese military forces sent from Xiling Province, according to sources of Students for a Free Tibet.

The protests began in Ragya, Tibet after Tashi Sangpo, a 28-year-old Buddhist monk from the Ragya monastery jumped into the Yellow River. According to Students for a Free Tibet, Sangpo was being held by Chinese police under suspicion that he raised a Tibetan flag over the monetary and passed out leaflets that called for independence. There has been no word of Sangpo’s body being recovered.

According to Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, the last word they've received is that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has deployed military troops in Ragya in Eastern Tibet. Golok Town and Ragya monastery have been surrounded by troops.

“It’s not a very heavily populated area so the presence is very much felt by the local people,” said Tethong in a phone interveiw, adding one of their contacts said it’s “a very frightening sight like they’ve never seen before.”

A video of Saturday’s protest was sent via mobile phone to a Tibetan currently living in India (originally from Ragya.) Although the video is of low quality, it can be seen clearly that there is a large crowd filled with many Tibetan monks. In the distance can be seen what look like riot police. The crowd is shouting, “Bod Gyalo” (Victory to Tibet) and “Lha Gyalo” (Victory to the Gods.)

“Tibet is under martial law. I think everyone pretty much agrees now on this point except the Chinese government. The deployment of troops that has been seen by eye-witnesses and good sources, including journalists, in China shows that they are absolutely using an iron fisted approach to deal with any Tibetan proceeds or otherwise resistance,” Tethong said.

“The people in Tibet now are living under great distress,” she said. “The troop presence there, the authoritarian crackdown is only provoking more. While causing more tensions and ultimately leading to more Tibetan suffering and Tibetan loss of life.”

A video of the protest can he seen here: