Another Monk is Detained in Tibet's Sog County

tibet-lobsangdawa-march252015.jpg Lobsang Dawa, in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Chinese authorities have taken another Tibetan monk into custody in Tibet’s restive Sog county, seizing him at night in his quarters following the roundup earlier this month of seven other monks from the same monastery, sources said.

Lobsang Dawa, aged about 38, was detained on March 20 at the Tsenden monastery in Sog (in Chinese, Suo) county in the Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a source in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“No one knows where he was taken or where he is currently being held,” the source, Ngawang Tharpa, said, citing contacts in Tibet.

“At the time he was detained, he was in charge of the maintenance of buildings in the monastery,” Tharpa said.

No reason was given for Dawa’s detention by authorities, he said.

Dawa, a native of Bechen village in Sog county’s Rawak township, may have been targeted for having posted politically sensitive material on social media platforms, Tharpa said.

“The Chinese authorities are clamping down on the contents of popular social media, and particularly on the posting of photos, videos, and text that could be considered to be anti-China.”

Political unrest

Sog, Nagchu, and Driru (Biru) are three neighboring counties in Tibet’s eastern Nagchu prefecture from which Chinese authorities fear political unrest may spread unchecked to other parts of the region.

On March 14, police took seven other monks from Sog’s Tsenden monastery into custody on suspicion of activities opposing Chinese rule, leading to tightened restrictions at the monastery, sources said in earlier reports.

And in March 2014, two Tsenden monks were seized by police for painting slogans and spreading writings calling for Tibet’s independence.

The detentions followed the detention earlier that same month of at least nine other local monks and residents suspected of involvement in activities challenging Beijing’s rule, including the painting of independence slogans on boulders near an iron bridge in Sog’s Trido township.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 137 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

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


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