Chinese authorities have detained three senior Tibetan monks in Qinghai province's Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) prefecture after they purchased and freed 300 yaks that were headed to a slaughterhouse, according to sources.
Buddhist teachings encourage the practice of saving animals from imminent slaughter, hailing it as a meritorious action. Most slaughterhouses in Tibetan-populated areas are owned by Chinese groups.
Ringpu, 50, Yutruk 51, and Salshap, 47, all three respected senior monks from the Golog Gangshar monastery, "were taken away on Feb. 6 to the Pema [in Chinese, Banma] county center and detained for saving about 300 yaks by purchasing them from the slaughterhouse,” A Tibetan from Golog told RFA's Tibetan Service.
“All three monks have been with the same monastery since they were ten years old," he said. "Ringpu was the head of the monastery and had the experience of working as discipline coordinator of the monastery for six years."
Tibetans have held silent campaigns in the past to save yaks from slaughterhouses in line with the Buddhist practice of "life liberation."
There have also been cases of yaks owned by Tibetans that have gone missing and were later found to have been stolen and butchered by Chinese slaughterhouse owners, sources have said.
Local religious leaders have spoken against the killing of animals for their meat.
In a 2007 report, "No One Has the Liberty to Refuse," New York-based Human Rights Watch noted spreading “concerted protests” by Tibetans against Chinese-operated slaughterhouses being built in Tibetan areas.
“Local people in areas where these incidents took place claim that they have been ordered to donate animals for slaughter on a per-household basis. In some cases, local protests have been led by religious figures, and have led to arrests and violence,” the report said.
“Clearly slaughterhouses are offensive to Buddhist beliefs, and these have provided some sanction for the protest, but to Tibetan herders it appears that the slaughterhouses also reflect the influx of Han Chinese entrepreneurs.”
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.