By Kalsang Rinchen
Dharamsala, May 23 – As the Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Ngaba County continue to subject monks of Kriti monasytery to the so-called “Patriotic Reeducation Campaign” a Tibetan monk named Lobsang Choephel has been arrested on May 12, a Tibetan source with contacts in Ngaba said.
Lobsang, 19, of the Karma Tsang family in the Naktsangma pastoral division of Cha township in Ngaba county, was arrested from his monastery. However, the reasons for his arrest and his current whereabouts remain unknown, as is the case with several others detained earlier.
Meanwhile, a Tibetan monk named Lobsang Dhargye who was arrested on May 2 this year from the monastery has been sentencd to 3 years in prison, said the source who added that Lobsang’s detention was prompted by his comments to the Chinese officials conducting the “Patriotic Reeducation Campaign” that Tibetans in Tibet lack freedom of speech.
The same source said monks in groups of 20 each are subjected to the “Patriotic Reeducation Campaign”. “Since it is hard to retrieve information from Ngaba under strict control by Chinese authorities it is difficult for us to get confirmed information on the current situation,” said the source adding however that the monks who refuse to succumb to the pressures of the Chinese authorities during the “Patriotic Reeducation Campaign” seem to be vulnerable to arrests and detention.
It is estimated that there are currently 55000 Chinese troops in Ngaba though the figure could not be independently verified. A foreign reporter is said to have overheard the figure from a Chinese soldier stationed at a new military camp on the outskirts of the monastery, the source added.
Ngaba has been at the centre of political dissent and anti government protests since March 16 this year after a 20-year-old monk set himself ablaze marking 3 years since a bloody crackdown by Chinese forces that left several Tibetans dead in 2008.
The Chinese government has replaced several officials of Townships (Ch:Xiang) in Ngaba County by staff from other counties, according to the source.