Chinese authorities have detained six Tibetan monks on suspicion of activities challenging Beijing’s rule amid a continuing security crackdown in a restive county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), according to sources.
Four were taken into custody on unknown charges, while two others were seized in connection with the painting of independence slogans and mailing of “anti-China” writings to local officials in Sog (in Chinese, Suo) county in the TAR’s Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture, sources said.
“On March 17, four monks of Sog county’s Drilda monastery were picked up for unknown reasons,” Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan living in India, told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week, citing contacts in the region.
Tharpa identified the detained as Tsangyang Gyatso, Tsewang, Atse, and Gyaltsen, adding, “Tsangyang Gyatso is the chant leader of the monastery, and he has been detained before.”
A security clampdown is now under way in the monastery’s neighboring Trido township, with still-unidentified residents also reported detained and “several government vehicles patrolling in the area,” Tharpa said.
“No further details are available, though,” he said.
Meanwhile, two monks from another Sog county monastery were seized by police for painting slogans and spreading writings calling for Tibet’s independence from Chinese rule, Tharpa said.
On March 14, Tsenden monastery monk Gendun Drakpa was detained “for burning the Chinese flag and writing ‘Tibet is Independent’ on the door of Chinese officials stationed at the monastery,” Tharpa said.
“He is about 20 years old, and is a native of Yang-nge village in Sog county’s Yaklu township.”
Two days later, Choeying Kalden, 20 and also from Tsenden, was detained for “sending anti-China writings to the head officials of the Chinese work team stationed at the monastery,” Tharpa said, adding that the writings were also copied to some of Kalden’s friends among the monks.
Kalden, a son of the Lhakyil family in Yegu village in Sog county’s Yaklu town, is being held at an unknown location, and no word has been received concerning his condition, Tharpa said.
“The monks of Sog Tsenden monastery are now being called to the police station each day to be interrogated,” he said.
Last week’s detentions follow a roundup in early March of at least nine other area monks and residents suspected of involvement in activities challenging Chinese rule, including the painting of independence slogans on boulders near an iron bridge in Trido township.
“The iron bridge in Trido township where independence slogans were written in red paint is being watched by Chinese police,” a local source told RFA last week.
“Several hundred Chinese police and paramilitary troops are now stationed at Trido,” he said.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 129 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.
Reported by Tsewang Norbu for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.