Tibetan Monk Shot in ‘Accident’

The monk’s family is ordered to cover up his death.

tibet-sonam-dorje-305 Sonam Dorje in an undated photo.

A Tibetan monk has died in Lhasa in what local police described as an “accidental” shooting, though authorities later ordered the man’s family to cover up the death and keep news of the incident from spreading outside the area, according to Tibetan sources.

Sonam Dorje, aged about 40, had gone to Lhasa to seek medical treatment and was standing near a police station close to Day Care Center No. 1 in Trin Konchu district in Tibet’s regional capital when he was struck by a bullet from behind on Sept. 6, a local source told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The monk, from Ganden monastery, was “hit in the area of his heart,” the source said. “He was rushed to the Lhasa Hospital, but could not be saved.”


Police later admitted that officers stationed near the day care center had shot Dorje “accidentally,” the source said.

After the shooting, officials ordered witnesses not to talk about the incident, threatening to detain anyone who did not comply.

Ganden monastery monks asked for Dorje’s body, but were refused, the source said.

The body was handed over to family members in Maldro Gongkar county a day after the shooting.

Sonam Dorje came originally from Bang-nga village in Lhasa prefecture’s Maldro Gongkar county, the source said. His father, Jampa, and mother, Kalsang, are both 77.

“Dorje’s family members were paid something in compensation, but were ordered to tell outsiders that their son had died of illness, and not from being shot,” the source said.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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