A Tibetan monk found in possession of recordings of speeches by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been beaten to death by Chinese police, according to Tibetan sources.
Kardo, formerly of the Champa Ling monastery in Chamdo prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), was taken into custody on April 21 at his home in Dzogang (in Chinese, Zuogong) county by county police, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Monday.
“Two cassettes of the Dalai Lama’s speeches were discovered in his room,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity and citing contacts in the region.
“After he was detained, he was severely beaten by police, and he died on April 28,” the source said.
Kardo’s parents had died some time before, and he is survived only by a sister, the source said.
“Chamdo police called Kardo’s sister and told her to claim the body.”
Police decline comment
Called on Tuesday for comment, a police officer in Dzogang referred an RFA reporter to the county’s criminal investigation division, saying, “They are in charge,” but declined to provide a number for the office.
“The Chinese say that [Tibetans] enjoy freedom of religion, but that is not implemented in practice,” RFA’s source said.
“Tibetans are not allowed even to save the lives of animals in order to gain merit, and the Chinese also prevent monks from going to conduct prayers in Tibetan homes,” he said.
Kardo had studied for a long time at the Champa Ling monastery in Chamdo and was known to be good in his studies, but had left the monastery at an unknown date, the source said.
“He left because of the monastery’s worship of the Shugden deity.”
Shugden worship is a religious practice regarded as sectarian and discouraged by the Dalai Lama—a restriction that has led to divisions and ill feeling within the Tibetan exile community in India and elsewhere.
Dzogang county authorities have been known in recent years to take harsh action against Tibetan protesters who assert Tibetan national identity or otherwise challenge Beijing’s rule in the region.
On Feb. 10, Chinese police in Dzogang rounded up and brutally beat a group of Tibetans following a protest at the start of the Lunar New Year, leaving two with broken bones and taking at least six into custody, sources said.
The protest in the county’s Meyul township came after authorities insisted that area residents fly the Chinese national flag from the roofs of their homes, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“But the Tibetans refused to fly the flags from their roofs,” the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Instead, they tore them down and stamped on them,” he said.
And in January 2009, a young Tibetan living in Dzogang’s Punda township was reported beaten to death by police.
Pema Tsepak, 24, had been detained for taking part in a demonstration against Chinese rule, sources said.
“Chinese officials said he jumped off a building,” a Punda resident told RFA. “But we believe that he was beaten to death and then thrown off,” he said.
Reported by Soepa Gyaltso and Lobsang Choephel for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.