Tsering Gyaltsen in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, September 20: A Tibetan monk who has been missing since February this year is now feared dead as a result of the severe beatings he received from Chinese security personnel.
Tsering Gyaltsen, 40, a monk from the Drango Monastery, was severely beaten and detained by Chinese security forces amid the crackdown that followed the January 23 protest in Drango in eastern Tibet.
Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that Gyaltsen was severely beaten by security forces and then taken to a hospital in Kardze on February 9.
The group in a release Wednesday quoted an unnamed source as saying that Gyaltsen suffered a broken spine from the beatings and died the same day at the hospital.
"Tsering Gyaltsen died the day he was hospitalised because the doctors could not treat the injuries he suffered during the police beatings," TCHRD said. "In addition to broken spine, he must have received other serious injuries."
In May 2012, more than four months after Gyaltsen's disappearance, his family and relatives had carried out his last rituals after sources in the hospital confirmed his death.
However, Chinese authorities have neither confirmed the death nor revealed the monk's whereabouts for the past eight months
TCHRD said that Gyaltsen’s colleagues at the Drango Monastery and his family members had approached the County Public Security Bureau office a number of times to inquire about his condition and whereabouts.
“The PSB officers have so far maintained that they have no knowledge about the case.”
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 – killing, arresting, disappearing, and passing heavy sentences on suspected demonstrators.
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.”