Monks Held Amid Solidarity Rally

Tibet's restive Kirti monastery continues to be the focus of a security clampdown.

tibet-solidarity-305.gif Young Tibetans join prayers in Dharamsala, India, for those who self immolated in protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, Oct. 19, 2011.
Photo courtesy of the Dalai Lama's office.

Chinese authorities have arrested two more Tibetan monks from a restive monastery in southwestern Sichuan province as Tibetans displayed solidarity with compatriots who self-immolated in protest against Beijing's rule, sources said Thursday.

Security has been tightened in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture, where Tibetans gathered at the county town Wednesday wearing traditional attire and reciting prayers for five of the nine people who died after setting themselves ablaze this year.

The two monks were picked up from the Kirti monastery in Ngaba, from where hundreds of their peers had been taken away by security forces since the first self immolation by a young monk at the monastery in March sparked a security crackdown.

"On the night of Oct. 17, Kirti monk Puntsok, aged 28, of the Siriktsang house in Naktsangma village, Cha township, was arrested from his room at the monastery by policemen who beat him as they took him away," Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi, two monks from Kirti's sister monastery in India's Dharamsala hill town, said in a statement to RFA.

"His room was thoroughly searched. His present whereabouts are not known," they said.

Earlier, on Saturday, another monk Jigme Choepel of Soruma village, Choeje township was taken away.

Their whereabouts and reasons for their arrest are unclear.

Several laypeople were also arrested in Ngaba on Saturday but their names and other details are not known.


The charred body of Tibetan nun Tenzin Wangmo who self-immolated in Ngaba, Oct. 17, 2011.
Photo courtesy of Jonang Shangpo.

In the latest self-immolation protest, a Tibetan nun set herself ablaze and died Monday.

Tenzin Wangmo, about 20 years old, called for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader living in exile in India, before succumbing to her burns. She was the first female to self-immolate in recent memory among Tibetans protesting Chinese rule.

"The body of the nun, Tenzin Wangmo, who committed self-immolation protest on Oct. 17 was cremated the same evening by order (from the authorities). So far, the Chinese government has not publicly acknowledged that the incident took place," Tsering and Yeshi said.

On Wednesday, they said, a large number of townspeople wearing Tibetan dress gathered in the streets of Ngaba county town, reciting prayers and fasting, in a demonstration of solidarity.

"On two occasions they attempted to stage public protests but were unable to do so in unison, and police and soldiers wielding firearms moved to disperse them," they said.

A few days ago, Chinese authorities held meetings in every township in Ngaba  county to inform the people that monks were disallowed to recite prayers for those who have died as a result of anti-government protest, the monks said.

The authorities said that "local leaders and family members will be held fully responsible," according to the monks.

Reported by RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

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