A Tibetan man was reportedly arrested under China’s Strike Hard campaign after he was found in possession of pictures of the Dalai Lama around his neck and in his car.
Karma Samdup of Nagqu county in Tibet was purportedly taken by Chinese authorities on Aug. 12 after police discovered that he was keeping pictures of Tibet’s Buddhist spiritual leader, who has been living in exile in India since 1959, around his neck and in his car. “His arrest is part of the Chinese government’s Strike Hard Campaign where they are cracking down on Tibetans. As of now, we don’t have much information on Samdup’s whereabouts,” an anonymous Tibetan living in exile told Radio Free Asia.
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“He was arrested amidst tight restrictions placed in Lhasa recently. The Chinese government arrested him for the ‘separatist act’ of possessing a picture of the Dalai Lama,” the source added.
A similar incident reportedly occurred on July 11 when another young Tibetan, identified as Youdon, was arrested after being found with the Dalai Lama’s picture.
Although China’s Strike Hard campaign started in 1983, the effort to stifle political dissent did not reach Tibet until 1996. The campaign has reportedly resulted in lengthy prison sentences, torture and the disappearances of those who participate in nonviolent political and religious activities. On Sunday, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemned the sentencing of two monks from the village of Bharong in Sichuan province’s Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The two monks were detained incommunicado in September 2020 and sentenced on an unknown date in June, according to reports.
Tenzin Dhargay, a monk from the Dza Sershul Monastery, was detained after authorities learned that he was keeping a picture of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan political information on his phone.
The other monk, only identified by the name Rigtse, was also detained at the time. The reason for Rigtse’s detainment was not made clear.
Both of the detainees were sentenced on the same date. The Sershul County People’s Court sentenced Dhargay to three years and six months, while Ritgtse received a three-year prison sentence.
“This verdict, like many others in the past, is the result of sham trials where no human rights and rule of law was guaranteed or respected,” TCHRD wrote. “As a party to major international human rights instruments, the PRC government has obligations to promote and protect the free exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”