On 1 August 2007, Runggye Adak, a nomad from Lithang in eastern Tibet, stepped onstage at an official function at the Lithang Horse Racing Festival, to present a ceremonial khatag to the chief Lama of Lithang monastery. While on stage he boldly grabbed the microphone and addressed a crowd of several thousand Tibetans who had gathered for the annual festival.
He said, “If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet.” He also called for the release of the Panchen Lama and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The crowd applauded loudly. An eyewitness said: “It all happened so fast – Runggye Adak just came onstage and started speaking… Quite a few people were cheering him… But then uniformed officers arrived and … took him away, and other people around me were saying how scared they were about his fate.”