A Tibetan man detained by Chinese police in early October on unknown charges has not been heard from since his arrest and has now vanished in detention, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Wednesday.
Lhadar, 36, was taken into custody in Tibet’s Nagchu (in Chinese, Naqu) county after being warned by police not to leave the area, and was a resident of the Geso Tsalhi village in Nagchu’s Tarchen township, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It is assumed he was arrested for ‘leaking state secrets,’” the source said, citing a charge often used to stop the spread of news of protests against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas or other information considered politically sensitive by authorities.
“Lhadar is strongly opposed to China’s repressive policies in Tibet, including its political re-education programs and its imposition of restrictions on Tibetans,” the source said.
“He has always been outspoken on issues concerning the reunion of Tibetan people inside Tibet and in exile, and has great hope for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet. Therefore, he was on the ‘watch list’ of the Chinese police,” he said.
Lhadar had earlier clashed with authorities during protests in Nagchu against Chinese “patriotic education” campaigns, and had been arrested and beaten along with other Tibetans, RFA’s source said.
“He was eventually released, but after that his movements were restricted,” he said.
A formerly independent nation, Tibet was taken over and incorporated into China by force nearly 70 years ago, following which Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled into exile in India.
Chinese authorities now maintain a tight grip on the region, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of ethnic and religious identities, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.