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Eight Tibetans detained for “organising a mob to disturb social order”

Tibetans in south-eastern Tibet have been detained on suspicion of “organising a mob to disturb social order” and “provoking trouble” court documents published below show.

A-nya Sangdra

A-nya Sangdra

Eight Tibetans have been detained by the Chinese government in south-eastern Tibet for “organising a mob to disturb social order” and two others have been held for“provoking trouble” reports and court documents obtained by Tibet Watch reveal. 

The suspects are from Golok prefecture in south-eastern Tibet and they have been held in Machen and Dari county detention centres within the prefecture. 

The court documents from 26 July name Tibetan nomad and community campaigner A-Nya Sengdra, 48, as being among those under suspicion by Chinese authorities for the more serious charge of organising a mob to disturb social order.

The documents, published below, said defendant A-Nya Sengdra had established two WeChat groups, each with a membership of over four hundred people and used three other WeChat groups titled “anti-corruption”, ''environmental protection'' and ''people's petitions” to slander and attack the region's political organisation and the speech of its citizens. 

A “dependent” of his was also accused of broadcasting ten audio messages to large numbers of people which authorities said were vicious in nature and undermined social order. 

The court document said A-Nya Sengdra had previously been involved in smuggling, while Tibet Watch added that he has also served a year in prison for illegal possession of a gun and ammunition, and was again arrested in 2018 for allegedly disturbing social order.

Other suspects detained alongside A-Nya Sengdra include Sothor, Jimtri, Asho, Dosang, Wanggyal, Gyaltsen, Abhi, Ugen Tsering and Wanchen. 

Ugen Tsering and Wanchen, are monks while the rest of the alleged suspects including A-Nya Sengdra are nomads and members of the Nomads welfare Association in Kyangche town and Machen county within Golok prefecture.

Tibet Watch reported the suspects were detained at around the same time, but is not able to confirm the dates when this happened.

Chinese human rights lawyer Lin Qilei told Tibet Watch that authorities said A-Nya Sengdra's case is related to the ongoing nationwide campaign crackdown against "underworld forces,”.

In January 2018, Beijing announced a crackdown on “underworld forces” across China and extended the drive to Tibet. It made traditional and social activities among Tibetans like local efforts to protect the environment and preserve language illegal.

In June, Chinese state media reported that China was targeting Tibetan “separatists,” adding that gang crimes in Tibet are usually connected to “separatist forces” and individuals who are part of the “Dalai Clique.” 

The report said there were gangs operating in Tibet whose intention was to create disorder instead of making money. 
Human Rights Watch said the underworld forces policy, which continues today, has come with “government claims that it is combating foreign manipulation and infiltration… [but] the new restrictions in the TAR are intended to increase the authority of the CCP.”

Read the court documents below:

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Michael Selby-Green