A Tibetan carrying a bullet injury to his stomach region following China's violent crackdown on protests in Drango, eastern Tibet on January 23, 2012.
DHARAMSHALA, September 18: A Tibetan monk has been sentenced to prison on unknown charges and four others remain disappeared, months after their arrest following the major protest in Drango, eastern Tibet, earlier this year.
Shonu, a monk staff of the Drango Monastery whose whereabouts remained unknown since his arrest in February 2012, has been traced to the Mianyang Prison according to the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The group cited an unnamed source as saying that Shonu, 42, was sentenced in June 2012 to 18 months in prison for charges unknown at the moment.
In February 2012, Chinese security officers detained Shonu and four other staff members of Drango Monastery at an Internet café in Tridu (Chinese: Chengdu) city, capital of Sichuan Province.
“The whereabouts of the four monk officials: Tulku Lobsang Tenzin, a reincarnated lama; Geshe Tsewang Namgyal , a teacher and a staff; Thinlay, manager; and Tashi Topgyal aka Dralha, accountant, remain unknown to this day,” TCHRD said.
Hundreds of Tibetans had come out on the streets in Drango on January 23, the first day of Chinese new year, calling for Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. Chinese security personnel retaliated by firing indiscriminately at the unarmed demonstrators, killing and injuring scores of people.
Following the protests, Chinese authorities led a large-scale manhunt for suspected demonstrators. In one instance, Chinese security personnel shot down and killed two brothers in their hideout in the nearby hills of Drango.
China has been tightening the noose on Tibetans suspected of taking part in the peaceful protests in the region.
In the past few months, Chinese courts in eastern Tibet have sentenced scores of Tibetan to varying prison terms – from nine months to life-imprisonment, including both monks and laymen, for their ‘involvement’ in the January 23 protest.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration has said that since the peaceful protests in Drango, China has maintained a “strict and repressive” presence in the region.
“Since the peaceful protest against the Chinese government in Kham Drango, Chinese military personnels have maintained a strict and repressive presence in the area,” CTA said. “Scores of Tibetan monks and lay persons were arrested arbitrarily during the protests and sentenced to various prison terms.”