Troops Remain at Kirti

Chinese security forces maintain watch at a restive Tibetan monastery.
2011-05-23
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Kirti Monastery in an undated photo.
Kirti Monastery in an undated photo.
Photo sent by a listener in Tibet

Chinese troops and armed police remain stationed around Kirti monastery in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where a monk died in a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule, police and exile sources said on Monday.

Chinese security forces launched a huge military crackdown in the region after the monk, named Phuntsog, died on March 17 after setting fire to himself and shouting protests against Chinese rule in Tibet.

"These days, soldiers, police, and special police forcesinside and out, and armed with a variety of weaponsare maintaining their blockade of Kirti monastery," India-based Tibetan monk Kanyag Tsering said, citing contacts in the region.

"They divide monks from the same dormitory into groups of 20 and hold so-called 'patriotic religion' re-education meetings in the monks' dormitory buildings," Tsering said.

"They ask lots of questions, and when the monks cannot give the answers that the officials want to hear on many issues, it seems that they detain them."

The latest was detained on May 12, Tsering said.

"Kirti monk Lobsang Choephel, 19, of the Karma Tsang family in the Naktsangma pastoral division of Cha township in Ngaba county, was removed from the monastery and taken into detention."

"His whereabouts and the reason for his detention are unknown," he said.

Two sentenced

Two Kirti monksLobsang Dargye and Konchog Tsultrimwere recently sentenced to three years each in jail by the Ngaba County People's Court, Tsering said.

Lobsang Dargye, of the Ngaba Tsang family in Me'uruma township, was sentenced ... around May 2," Tsering said.

"The crime for which he was sentenced was that during [Chinese-directed] 'patriotic religion' meetings, he spoke his own mind in front of the officials and soldiers, and told them what he thought."

"That shows how much freedom of expression Tibetans have," Tsering added.

Exile sources say that authorities earlier detained more than 300 monks at Kirti, taking them away in buses and brutally beating local Tibetans who attemped to come to their rescue.

Previous "re-education" campaigns among Tibetans have required them to renounce their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and pledge allegiance to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Atmosphere 'less tense'


A police officer who answered the phone at the Ngaba township police station denied that Kirti monks had been detained.

"Who told you that? No such thing happened here," he said. But he confirmed there was still a security presence in the area.

"There have been armed police and troops there for a while, but there aren't many," the officer said.

A Tibetan resident of Ngaba said the atmosphere in the township is now less tense than before.

"There are still sentry posts and patrols between them," he said.

"The monks who are coming out of Ngaba county now are saying that there are a lot of armed police, but it's not as bad as it was before."

"There aren't sentries stationed inside the monastery, just guarding it from the outside," he added.

Reported by Rigdhen Dolma for RFA's Tibetan service and by Hai Nan for the Cantonese service. Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Written in English by Luisetta Mudie and Richard Finney.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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