Kirti Monks Reject Buy-Off

Chinese authorities try to win support at a Tibetan monastery with offers of money.

2011.06.03
kritimonastery-305.jpg Kirti Monastery in an undated photo.
Photo sent by a listener in Tibet

Tibetan monks at the besieged Kirti monastery have refused payments of money offered by Chinese authorities in an apparent bid to buy their loyalty, Tibetan exile sources said.

Meanwhile, Chinese troops and armed police remain stationed near the monastery in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, where a monk named Phuntsog died on March 17 after setting fire to himself in a protest against Chinese rule.

“Sometime in mid-May, Chinese authorities announced a plan to distribute a monthly allowance of 800 yuan (U.S. $123) to every monk at Kirti,” India-based Tibetan monks Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshe said, citing contacts in the region.

“On hearing the news, the monks resented the plan and vowed not to take the money,” Tsering and Yeshe said.

On May 26, officials attempted to distribute a bi-weekly allowance of 400 yuan (U.S. $62), but a group of monks “took the money and tore the notes into pieces and scattered them,” Tsering and Yeshe said.

“The monks told the officials that if it is against China’s law or constitution to refuse public money, they are willing to be punished.”

They also complained about the continuing presence of Chinese troops and armed police at their monastery after more than two months, and about the authorities’ interference with their daily learning and religious activities, Tsering and Yeshe said.

Abused in detention

Meanwhile, two women who had opposed the forced removal on April 22 of about 300 monks from the Kirti monastery were released after 25 days in detention, Tsering and Yeshe said, citing anonymous sources in the Kirti area.

“Choekho, 45, of the Trinchen family in the Upper Taba township of Ngaba county, and Serkyi, 35, the daughter of Logle Trakho of Upper Taba, were released on May 17,” Tsering and Yeshe said.

“Their heads had been shaved, and they were beaten and abused so badly in detention that they are unable to look after themselves,” they said.

On April 12, after authorities threatened to remove all Kirti monks aged 18-40 for compulsory political re-education, Choekho and Serkyi were among a crowd of local Tibetans who blocked the movements of Chinese police and soldiers and then stood vigil at the monastery for the next 10 days, Tsering and Yeshe said.

When special police units entered the monastery on April 22, they detained the younger protesters standing in their way and drove older protesters to a cemetery and army camp before releasing them, they said.

Reported by Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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