By Kalsang Rinchen
New York March 16 - Hundreds of People’s Armed Police have surrounded 2 monasteries in Tibet to avoid further spread of the protests in Lhasa and other areas. Armed police reached Bumying Monastery of Sershul town (Shiqu County, Ganze Prefecture, Sichuan Province)and blocked all its access to the town.
According to sources, the incident was provoked earlier today by ordinary police investigating the scattering of Tibet independence leaflets in the streets of the town last night. However, the police did not find any evidence of the monks’ involvement in the distribution of independence leaflets. The police demanded the removal of a photograph of the Dalai Lama but a senior monk from the monastery refused to do so saying that this could create more problems. After a short while, troops of People’s Armed Police surrounded the monastery from all sides.
Onpo monastery, also in Sershul town is currently surrounded by People’s Armed Police, seemingly without provocation. However, it appears to be a precautionary measure on the part of the Chinese authorities as this is the home monastery of several of the monks arrested in Lhasa from the Sera Monastery protest march earlier this week on March 10.
Our sources say that many parents have not seen their children and families are complaining of missing members since the start of the turmoil in Lhasa.
Meanwhile, China has tightened its control on the rest of Tibet with strict restriction on Tibetans’ movement.
In Lhasa, shops remained closed, flights canceled, telephone and internet lines down and military is keeping a close watch on the town. Relatives inform us through email about their families not being able to go out, as they slowly run out of food supplies in their homes.
Travel agencies are asked to arrange for their tourists to get out of Lhasa and not bring any tourists into Lhasa. A substantial number of tourists initially headed for Lhasa are stranded in Gyantse and other areas.