Tibetan Monk Detained in First Ngaba Protest This Year

Kirti monk Lobsang Tsultrim called out for Tibetan freedom before being taken away by police.

Detained monk Lobsang Tsultrim is shown in an undated photo.

Chinese police in Sichuan’s Ngaba county detained a Tibetan monk on Saturday after he launched a solo protest calling for freedom for Tibet in the first such protest reported in the county this year, sources said.

Lobsang Tsultrim, a young monk belonging to Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, was taken into custody at around 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 25 in the Ngaba county seat while calling out in public for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“He was quickly detained by police stationed in the town,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He was taken from the scene, and his present condition and whereabouts are unknown,” the source said.

Chinese security personnel in uniform and plain clothes swarmed the area following Tsultrim’s protest, which took place while a large prayer gathering was under way in nearby Kirti monastery, RFA’s source said.

Kirti monastery and the county’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, nuns, and other Tibetans opposed to Chinese rule.

Eight solo protests were carried out by Tibetans in Ngaba last year, with another nine reported in the county in 2015, according to Tibetan sources in the region and in exile.

However, accurate numbers are difficult to obtain owing to communication clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.