Two Tibetan Monks Held in Shigatse


2004-07-14
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Two others held for 4-1/2 months, freed

KATHMANDU — ; Two Tibetan monks are being held by Chinese authorities in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), five months after they were stopped on their return home from Nepal. Sources say their detention follows a general Chinese tightening of border security in the region.

Tenzen Samten and Thupten Samdup are believed to be in Nyari Prison in Shigatse (in Chinese, Rigaze), inside the TAR, according to sources who asked not to be named. Prison authorities in Shigatse declined to comment.

Sources say Chinese border guards arrested them with two other monks aged 19-30 in February as they returned from Nepal.

The four-all natives of Tingri (in Chinese, Dingri) County-were identified as Ngawang Sherab from Minkab Village, Tenzen Samten from Palnak Village, Nawang Namgyal from Galnor Village, and Thupten Samdup from Zurto Chosum Village.

"Among them, Nawang Namgyal and Nawang Sherab were arrested at the Nyalam (in Chinese, Nielamu) check post and detained for a month in Nyalam jail. Later they were transferred to Nyari jail in Shigatse," said one source. "They were detained for four months and 15 days. Parents and relatives tried to contact them and tried to bail them out but the monks were not allowed to communicate with others."

Why those two men were detained was unclear. Officials declined to comment and relatives of the men couldn't be reached.

"The other two monks-Tenzen Samten and Thupten Samdup-were arrested after they arrived their hometowns. Later they were also transferred to Nyari jail. The Chinese officials explained that the monks were arrested for failing to report their return to Tingri County," the source said.

Sources told RFA's Tibetan service that Chinese authorities have tightened border controls in the region generally, with additional part-time staff to report illegal entries.

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