Chinese police have taken into custody a Tibetan monk suspected of involvement in a mass protest in a restive Tibetan-populated county, adding to the growing number of monks detained in the region with few details concerning their whereabouts or the charges they face, according to Tibetan sources.
Tenzin Sherab, 28, was picked up by police at around 9:00 a.m. local time on Oct. 1 in the Dzatoe township area of Tridu county in Qinghai province’s Yulshul prefecture, Lobsang Sangyal, a monk living at Sera monastery in South India, told RFA.
Sherab was a monk at the Zilkar monastery in Dzatoe, the scene of frequent Tibetan protests, including self-immolations, challenging Chinese rule, Sangyal said.
“After learning he had been detained, his family members went to the police station to look for him, but the police wouldn’t tell them where he was taken or why he had been detained.”
Involved in protest?
Sources in the region said that Sherab had been taken by police because of his suspected involvement in a protest at Zilkar in February, in which hundreds of monks had peacefully marched to call for Tibetan freedom and the return to Tibet of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The monks were stopped halfway at a bridge by Chinese security forces, angering about 1,000 local residents who then joined the demonstration, sources said.
Tenzin Sherab is is a native of Dzatoe township's Darmar village and is the fifth of seven siblings, Sangyal said. His father’s name is Jamchoe, and his mother’s name is Dekyi.
In September, hundreds of heavily armed Chinese security personnel raided Zilkar monastery, taking away four monks previously targeted for detention and holding another monk for taking photographs of the raid.
Monks who attempted to stop the detentions were beaten, sources said.
The whereabouts of the five detained monks are still unknown.
Human rights groups have expressed concern over the increasing number of Tibetan detentions amid the 54 self-immolations by Tibetans protesting Chinese rule since February 2009.
Reported by Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.