Security officers in China’s Sichuan province have detained two Tibetan monks who wrote books critical of Chinese policies in Tibet and are holding them in an undisclosed location where they may face torture, according to Tibetan sources.
Tashi Dondrub and Kelsang Gyatso, known also by the nicknames Mewod and Gomkul, were taken into custody on July 14 at Palyul monastery in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, one source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Tashi Dondrub is from Yulshog in the Samkha subdivision of Riwoche county in the Chamdo prefecture [of the Tibet Autonomous Region], and is the president of a literary group called The State of our Snow Mountains,” the source said.
Kelsang Gyatso, a prominent member of the same group and chant leader at the monastery, comes originally from the Nangchen region of Qinghai province, the source said.
Students and family members of the two men are deeply worried about their welfare, the source said, adding, “All those arrested in the area are subject to torture by the Chinese.”
Writings criticized China
A second source confirmed the detentions.
“Two monks from Palyul monastery known by the names Mewod and Gomkul were detained yesterday,” the source said, also writing on condition of anonymity.
“Nobody knows why they were detained. But two years ago, Mewod wrote a book called Painful Hope, and Gomkul published a book called My Pitiful World.”
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan cultural and national identity since widespread protests swept Tibet and the Tibetan-populated provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu in 2008.
Buddhist monks and nuns, often in the forefront of protests challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan areas, have also been jailed in large numbers.
In Tashi Dondrub’s home county of Chamdo, “every single monastery is under surveillance by Chinese forces,” one source said.
“Tibetan hermitages in the mountains are also being watched.”
“These kinds of strict restrictions on the daily activities of the monasteries have compelled many monks to leave their monasteries and go back to their villages,” he said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Tenzin Wangyal for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.