Tibetan Monk Beaten to Death

More resistance is reported in Tibet, along with the beating death of a monk.

ganzi-tibet-305.jpg Chinese soldiers patrol a street in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, March 23, 2008.
KATHMANDU—Chinese security forces have killed one Tibetan monk and detained others amid reports of a farmers’ boycott in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to Tibetan sources.

Phuntsok Rabten, age 27, died after being beaten by police in Draggo county in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said Konchog Norbu, a former resident of Draggo county now living in South India, citing sources in the region.

“On March 25, [Rabten] distributed several leaflets in the Draggo area calling on Tibetans not to till their land to protest Chinese crackdowns and to mourn Tibetans killed in last year’s protests [against Chinese rule],” Norbu said.

Observed by police, “He tried to escape on a motorcycle, and then on foot, but local police called the county police, and he was cornered at a place called Wada,” Norbu said.

“He was severely beaten by the Chinese security force and died at the scene. His body was tossed over a cliff in order to cover up the death.”

Phunstok Rabten came from Gyusung village and was a monk at Draggo monastery, Norbu said.  Dondrub Gyaltsen and Jamyang Lhamo were his father and mother, respectively.

“When his body was recovered, the monks of Draggo monastery, along with other Tibetans, went to the local police station to complain,” Norbu said.

“The police did not accept responsibility, though they admitted they had pursued him. The monks of Draggo monastery and local Tibetans planned to parade his body through the town in protest, but the elder monks of the monastery advised them not to do this.”

Reached for comment, an officer answering the phone at the Draggo Public Security Bureau office said, “There was no such incident in Draggo.”

Referring to reports of the farmers’ boycott, the officer added,  “If [the Tibetans] don’t till their land, what will they eat? Don’t listen to rumors.”

Chinese authorities have imposed tight curbs on all heavily Tibetan regions, fearing resurgent unrest around the one-year anniversary of the most widespread protests against Chinese rule in  decades.

Journalists have been barred from the heavily patrolled region, and accounts of events in Tibetan areas are often impossible to confirm.

Others detained

Also on March 25, police detained two monks from Minyak monastery in Draggo, Lobsang Gyaltsen, a monk at Drepung monastery in South India and also a Draggo native, said.

Gyaltsen gave the monks’ names as Olu and Thubten.

“They protested in the area and called on Tibetans not to till their land. Both were detained that night and were taken away,” he said.

Two days later, a group of government employees came to Pongda village in Draggo, bringing equipment used to carry manure to the fields, Gyaltsen said.

“The Tibetan farmers refused to cooperate,” he said. “Chinese police cracked down on the protestors, and about 20 lay Tibetans were detained. Eleven were severely beaten.”

The eleven who were beaten were taken, some of them unconscious, to a local hospital, Gyaltsen said.

Another detention

Separately, a Tibetan woman in Draggo confirmed an additional detention on March 23.

“A Tibetan named Paga, the son of Tseten Dolma, was detained by Draggo police on suspicion of involvement in the distribution of leaflets calling on Tibetans not to till their land,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We have no information regarding where he is detained or what his present condition is,” she added.

Government officials called a meeting in Draggo next day to insist that Tibetan farmers should cultivate their land, the woman said.

The meeting was attended by about 200 Tibetans from local villages and towns.

“They were told they would be provided with fertilizer and would receive 20,000 yuan in compensation for any damage to their crops,” she said, adding that the farmers were threatened with confiscation of their land if they refused to work.

The men of six villages in Draggo have now all “escaped into the hills” to avoid detention, Lobsang Gyaltsen said, speaking from India.

“Only children and women remain in the villages. Some of the villagers were badly beaten.”

“Those whose conditions are really severe were taken to [Sichuan’s capital] Chengdu for treatment,” he said.

Original reporting by RFA’s Tibetan service. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.