Crackdown on Monks Continues

Three more monks, including a student in Beijing, are detained amid tensions following a self-immolation protest.

lobsangtsepak305 Lobsang Tsepak in an undated photo.

Chinese authorities have picked up a Tibetan monk studying in Beijing as they widen a crackdown after a young monk set himself ablaze and died in a protest against Chinese rule.

Lobsang Tsepak, 27, was detained on the night of March 25, monks in India affiliated with his monastery said.

A student at the Beijing Nationality University, Lobsang Tsepak is from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Sichuan province—the same monastery as the monk who died on March 17 after setting himself on fire in protest against China’s rule in Tibet.

"The reason for his detention and the place where he is detained are not known," said Lobsang Yeshi, a monk affiliated with the Kirti monastery in Dharamsala, India.

“Following the death of Lobsang Phuntsog after he set himself on fire, the Chinese authorities imposed tight restrictions at Ngaba county and other areas of Ngaba prefecture,” said Tsering, another monk in Dharamsala.

A week after the self-immolation death, students at the Ngaba prefectural high school staged a hunger strike and about 100 Tibetans staged a protest march, chanting slogans about Tibetan independence and inviting the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, to his homeland.

The Dalai Lama has led the Tibetan people in exile since a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese occupation. Recently, he decided to give up his political duties to a newly elected prime minister in the Tibetan exile government based in India.

Following the protests over the self-immolation death, Chinese authorities have harassed monks at the Kirti monastery and restricted their movements.

“I heard that officials were conducting reeducation programs with the monks,” Tsering said.

Two others detained

A dozen Tibetans have been detained in Ngaba, including Lobsang Phuntsog’s brother and uncle, who were held on suspicion of involvement in his protest.

Two other monks from Kirti Monastery were also detained in the past week.

“Lobsang Ngodrup, 32, and Lobsang Choephel, 24, were detained on either March 29 or 30,” Tsering said.

The reasons for the arrests and their whereabouts were not disclosed.

Reported by Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan Service and translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.


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