August 3, 2006: Young Tibetan monks read textbooks in their class at the Choede Gompa monastery, built for the third Dalai Lama in the Tibetan town of Litang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Photo: AFP/Liu Jin
Delhi - Authorities in the Tibetan region of Karze in China’s southwestern Sichuan province have detained a 22-year-old monk as part of a broader crackdown on anti-Chinese sentiment, making him the eighth Buddhist monk arrested or detained there this year, Tibetan sources said.
Lobsang Palden, a monk at Karze monastery, was detained Aug. 15, sources said.
“When police raided his room in the monastery, they found several incriminating documents including photos of [Tibet’s exiled religious leader] the Dalai Lama,” a Tibetan from the region told RFA.
“Relatives learned that he was severely beaten in detention when he refused to implicate others."
Karze police officials contacted by phone refused to confirm the arrest.
Sources described Lobsang Palden as the eighth monk arrested by Chinese police in the Karze area this year, where signs of opposition to Chinese rule in the Himalayan kingdom appear to be on the rise.
“Incidents of protest involving the putting up of posters, painting on government buildings, and displaying Tibetan flags are increasing,” one source said.
Another source, who also declined to be named, said Lobsang Palden was involved in pro-independence activities.
“He also knew that he would be arrested one day, but he decided not to run away. He was pressed hard to name his accomplices," said the source.
Lobsang Palden was served with a formal written notice of arrest on Sept. 6 and was charged with initiating separatist activities, one source said.
"Normally, Chinese authorities file written charges after two months of arrest, but Lobsang Palden was charged in less than a month.”
Karze, a traditionally Tibetan area administered by China's Sichuan province, also saw the arrest last month of Khenpo Jinpa, abbot of Choktsang Taklung Monastery, and a 16-year-old Tibetan girl named Yiwang for handing out pro-independence leaflets. Five other Tibetans were arrested there for leafleting in June.
According to its 2006 global report, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said that suspected Tibetan separatists “are routinely imprisoned.”
China has said some 200 Tibetans are currently in prison for "state security crimes," which would include pro-independence activities, but Human Rights Watch said unofficial estimates are much higher.
The Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 after an unsuccessful revolt against Chinese rule. He leads the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, but Beijing has ruled him out of Tibet's future.
Images, writings, and video of the Dalai Lama, who is universally revered by Tibetans, are banned in Tibet, and those found in possession of them typically receive prison sentences.Original reporting by RFA's Tibetan service. Director: Jigme Ngapo. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written for the Web in English by Rick Finney and edited by Luisetta Mudie and Sarah Jackson-Han.