Information, travel clampdown after explosion in Kangding

The International Campaign for Tibet has recently received accounts of events surrounding a bomb blast in Kangding (Tib: Dartsedo) located in present day Sichuan Province, that scorched the front side of a prominent local government office early in the morning of August 2.

Police and local authorities in Kangding closed down internet cafes the morning after the blast for fear of news of the event spreading and at least four road check posts were set up on the main road leading to Chengdu, according to eyewitnesses. Police prohibited the same eyewitness from taking photographs of the bomb location.

There were no injuries as most government officials from the bombed office were reportedly in Litang for an annual horse festival which draws thousands of people.

>”When we checked into the hotel, [hotel management] told us we could expect to have our luggage inspected, and that there was an evening curfew for everyone,” said a western tourist who arrived in Kangding August 2.

“They told us at the internet cafe that no emailing was allowed because of the bombing,” the tourist continued.

Police checkpoints were set up before the Erhlan Shan pass on roads leading west towards Chengdu and eastward towards Litang before the Gye La mountain pass. Tibetans, Chinese and western tourists alike were questioned and luggage and belongings were searched on the roadside.

“The bombing was to put people on notice,” a local resident said, alluding to the recent religious crackdown at Larung Gar near Serthar, about a day and half drive away. Chinese authorities have destroyed over 2,000 meditation huts and expelled close to 4,000 nuns from the Larung Gar Buddhist retreat center in recent months.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, the revered teacher at Larung Gar, has reportedly suffered deteriorating health since the crackdown and has been moved to the military hospital in Barkham (Ch. Markham). Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok is under strict surveillance and is reportedly not allowed to see any students or local Tibetans.

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