Six Monks Detained

Chinese police take Tibetans into custody for challenging rule by Beijing.
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Undated photo of Tibetan monk Khedrub Dorje, assaulted and detained by Chinese authorities.
Undated photo of Tibetan monk Khedrub Dorje, assaulted and detained by Chinese authorities.
Photo courtesy of Pema Tsewang.

Chinese police have separately detained six Tibetan monks for protesting against Chinese rule, distributing leaflets calling for independence, and viewing Tibetan self-immolations online, sources said.

Monk Khedrub Dorje, 38, was “severely beaten and detained” last week for staging a protest in southwestern Sichuan province’s Kardze [in Chinese, Ganzi] county, Tibetan sources in exile said.

Khedrub Dorje, from the Dza Samdrub monastery, had protested in front of a restaurant before a large crowd on March 7, India-based monk Pema Tsewang said, citing contacts in the region.

“His whereabouts and current condition remain unknown,” Pema Tsewang said.

“What slogans he shouted, and whether anyone joined him in the protest, are also unclear,” he said.

Separately, a second exile source confirmed the account.

“After [Khedrub Dorje] had shouted briefly in protest, police detained him and then beat him while taking him from the scene,” the source, also based in India, said.

Khedrub Dorje’s family home is in Hena village in Kardze county’s Dzakhor township, the second source said, adding that his father’s name is Rigdor and his mother’s name is Jampa Khandro.

Leaflets scattered

Meanwhile, on March 4, flyers calling for Tibetan independence and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama were found scattered near Sog Tsenden monstery in the Nagchu prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), sources said.

The monastery had also been the scene of similar leafleting in December, leading to the disappearance of one monk and the detention and questioning of two others, India-based reporter Ngawang Tharpa said.

Tharpa told RFA that Chinese security officers took the fingerprints of the monastery's younger monks and began to suspect a monk named Kelsang Tsultrim, 19 and the son of Ajig of the Rongmey Tsarog township, of having put up the flyers.

Kelsang Tsultrim disappeared on Jan. 15, Tharpa said.

“Initially, local residents thought that he must have gone into hiding to evade detention by the Chinese.  But since nothing has been heard from him during the last two months, they now think that he has been detained.”

Two other monks from the same monastery—Choeying Jampa and Choeying Loga—were also detained on Jan. 15 and were held and questioned for 10 days, Tharpa said.

Secretly sentenced

In a separate incident, Sog county police on the same day detained two others monks—Choeying Logyal, 31, and Choephel Dawa, 21—for having viewed online images of self-immolation protests at Kirti monastery in Sichuan, Tharpa said.

At the beginning of February, both were secretly sentenced to two years in prison.

Currently, three to five Chinese officials are stationed at all major monasteries in Sog county, with smaller temples watched by one official, on a permanent basis, Tharpa said.

The developments came amid tensions in the Tibetan-populated provinces and in the TAR area following a Chinese security clampdown and the detention of hundreds of monks since early last year.

Twenty-seven Tibetans have also self-immolated to protest Chinese rule and to call for the return of the Dalai Lama.     

Reported by Rigdhen Dolma and Lobsang Sherab for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Rigdhen Dolma and Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.





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