Last week’s protests in Tibet heightened attention on AI both from the media and activists. Media is calling for interviews while activists want to take action. It is rather difficult, however, for AI to react immediately on a crisis. AI’s work is always based on credible reports. When information is tightly controlled in places like China, it takes time to verify claims of human rights abuses channeling from various sources. Eventually, several press releases and statements were made public:

Yesterday, an Urgent Action was issued for 15 Tibetan monks that have been detained for starting a peaceful demonstration in Barkhor, Lhasa on March 10. The monks began marching from Sera Monastery to join other monks calling on the Chinese government to ease a “patriotic re-education” campaign which forces them to denounce the Dalai Lama and subjects them to government propaganda. The names and other details of those 15 monks are:

  • Samten, age 17, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
  • Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, age 26, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
  • Gelek Pel, age 32, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
  • Lobsang, age 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Lobsang Thukjey, age 19, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Tsultrim Palden, age 20, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Lobsher, age 20, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Phurden, age 22, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Thupdon, age 24, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Lobsang Ngodup, age 29, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Lodoe, age 30, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
  • Thupwang, age 30, Darthang Monastery
  • Pema Garwang, age 30, Darthang Monastery
  • Tsegyam, age 22, Kashi Monastery
  • Soepa, age 30, Mangye Monastery

Photos of the monks are available through the Tibetan Centre on Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), based in Dharamsala, India. In the upcoming days and weeks, credible information will likely be coming from organizations like TCHRD while the Chinese authorities set up a near complete block of information in and out of Tibet. Journalists have not been able to obtain permits to enter Tibet since March 12. Foreign journalists were also barred or removed from areas in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces where the unrest has spread. Time magazine journalist, Simon Elegant described briefly on such difficulties in his post on The China Blog. More details were recorded by Reporters Without Borders.