EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/21/93
25 May 1993
Further information on UA 164/93 (ASA 17/20/93, 19 May 1993) - Mass arrest/Fear
People's Republic of China Lobsang Yonten
(Tibet Autonomous Region):Gendun Rinchen
and an unknown number of Tibetans (now
thought to be less than 100)
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman confirmed on 25 May 1993 that the two Lhasa
residents, Gendun Rinchen and Lobsang Yonten, were detained for political activities.
They have been accused of stealing "a large amount of state secrets" and engaging
in "separatist activities which directly threatened China's national security". The
two men are reported to have been involved in monitoring human rights violations
in Tibet. The authorities have not disclosed where they are being held and it is
feared they may be ill-treated.
Mao Rubai, Vice-Governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, denied recently that their
arrest was related to the 16 May 1993 arrival in Lhasa of a delegation of European
Community (EC) diplomats. He claimed they were detained well before that date and
also denied that over 100 Tibetans had been detained in connection with the EC visit.
On 24 and 25 May, just after the departure of the EC diplomats, major protests took
place in Lhasa involving up to 2,000 people. The unrest reportedly started in protest
at sharp price rises and rent increases, but may also have been triggered off by
the arrests preceding the EC visit. According to Tibetan exiles, another possible
source of discontent was the anniversary on 23 May of the 1951 signing of a document
incorporating Tibet into China, a day celebrated by the Chinese as the symbol of
the "Peaceful Liberation" of Tibet. Unconfirmed reports said that some Tibetan monks
were arrested on 23 May 1993 for briefly raising the Tibetan flag.
According to foreign residents in Lhasa the demonstration on 24 May began peacefully,
but police started firing tear-gas when rocks were thrown by the protesters and slogans
were changed into calls for Tibetan independence. According to another report the
police later opened fire into the air, but there were no confirmed reports of injuries.
Police were seen taking some protesters away. It is feared that further arbitrary
arrests may be carried out as a result of these protests.
Amnesty International is concerned about the treatment of Tibetan prisoners during
detention. The organization has had reports of at least three political prisoners
dying in detention in Tibet since 1988. Two Tibetans, recently conditionally released
from Drapchi Prison had suffered severe paralysis as a result of torture and sustained