Tibetan Monks Linked to Blasts

Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region this week detained five monks in connection with a series of small blasts during massive anti-Chinese protests in late March.

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TibetMap052808-305.png Map of Tibet Autonomous Region, showing prefectures and site of alleged blasts.
Graphic: RFA
KATHMANDU—Chinese authorities in Tibet have detained five monks in connection with a series of small blasts during massive anti-Chinese protests in the region earlier this year, Tibetan sources said.

One Tibetan source said the five, detained May 24, “were alleged to have been involved in some explosions in the area.” The explosions are said to have occurred April 6-7, and no casualties were reported.

“There were four small explosions in the Markham area, but nobody knows who did it,” the source said.

“The authorities are linking the explosions to the patriotic campaign” launched around the time of widespread anti-Chinese protests from mid-March, the source said.

Knowledgeable Tibetan sources identified the monks detained May 24, from Gonsar monastery in Markham, Chamdo prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, as: Gonpo, 20; Choedrub, 25; Palden, 30; Ngawang Phuntsok, 17; and Kunga, 20.

Officials decline to comment

An official with the Markham Public Security Bureau declined to comment in detail.

“We are still investigating, and no decision has been made,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “So we are not allowed to comment.”

May 14 incident

The allegations, one source said, echoed those against monks and two laypeople affiliated with the Oser and Khenlung monasteries, also in Markham, who were detained May 14.

The Oser monks were identified as Tenphel, 19; Riyang, 21; Choegyal, 23; Lobsang, 19; and Tenzin Tsampa, 19.

Monastery manager Ngawang Tenzin was also detained but has since been released, sources said.

The Khenlung monks were identified as Lobdra, 15; Namgyal, 18; Butruk, 13; Jamyang Lodroe, 15; Tsepak Namgyal, 15; Kalsang Tashi, 17; Jamdrub, 21; Wangchuk, 22; Penpa Gyaltsen, 26; Pasang Tashi, 30; and Lhamo Tsang.

The detained laypeople were identified as Dargye Garwatsang, 19, and Konchog  Tenzin, 21.

Crackdown continues

Chinese authorities have made numerous arrests and launched a “patriotic education” campaign aimed at Tibetans after protests and riots that began in Lhasa in mid-March and spread to other Tibetan areas.

Beijing says 22 people were killed in the rioting. Tibetan sources say scores of people were killed when Chinese paramilitary and police opened fire on crowds of demonstrators.
Chinese authorities have blamed exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, for instigating the protests and fomenting what they regard as a “splittist” Tibetan independence movement.

The Dalai Lama rejects the accusation, saying he wants only autonomy and human rights for Tibetans.

Original reporting in Kham by Lobsang Choephel. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han. Copy-edited by Richard Finney.

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