Two monks attached to a large Tibetan monastery in southwestern China’s Sichuan province were detained and beaten by police last month after they attempted to mediate a traffic dispute between a Tibetan and a Han Chinese driver, sources said.
Lakyab and Tsering Gyurme, both monks at the Palyul monastery in Palyul (in Chinese, Baiyu) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, were released on April 29 after being held for ten days, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“While in custody, both monks were severely beaten,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Lakyab and Gyurme had attempted to intervene in a dispute between two drivers, one a Tibetan and the other a Han Chinese, whose cars had collided, the source said.
“When police arrived on the scene, the monks became involved in an argument with them, and they were then detained and taken away,” he said.
In similar incidents in Palyul in the past, “the authorities have usually tended to blame the Tibetans,” he said.
“[In China], it is often said that all nationalities, including the ethnic minority groups, will be treated equally and fairly, but really there is no fairness to be had.”
Protests against Chinese authority have been rare in Palyul, a scenic mountain region where thousands turned out in July 2014 to welcome a young child identified as the reincarnate leader of the Palyul monastery.
Resistance to Chinese mining operations in the county has occasionally flared, though, and in October 2013 hundreds of Palyul monks marched to a police station to demand the release of a colleague detained for spreading word of a fatal police crackdown in a neighboring region, sources said in earlier reports.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.