DHARAMSHALA, October 18: Chinese authorities have arrested four monks of the Dokar Monastery in Tsoe, eastern Tibet in connection with the self-immolation protest of Sangay Gyatso.
According to sources in exile, the four monks were arrested for taking care of Sangay Gyatso’s body and taking pictures of his charred body.Sangay Gyatso
, 27, set himself on fire near the Dokar Monastery on October 6 shouting slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet. He passed away at the site of his protest following which monks and local Tibetans carried his charred body inside the Monastery premises.
The four arrested monks have been identified as Jigme Gyatso, Kalsang Gyatso, Kunchok Gyatso, and Tashi Gyatso.
According to media reports, Tashi was arrested a few days earlier, while Jigme, treasurer of the Monastery, Kalsang, accountant, and Kunchok were arrested on Wednesday during a raid at the Monastery.
Earlier reports had indicated that the entire Tsoe region was put under heavy surveillance and Chinese security forces were attempting to make arrests in connection with the self-immolation protest.
Monks at the Monastery were interrogated and severe restrictions were placed on the movement of local Tibetans.
There are also reports of Chinese officials offering bribe to Sangay Gyatso’s family members, urging them to sign a document stating that his self-immolation protest was not targeted against China’s rule over Tibet.
Sangay Gyatso is survived by his wife Dorjee Kyi and two children - a son, Dorjee Dhundup, 7 and a daughter, Tenzin Tso, 5.
A week after his fiery protest, another Tibetan, Tamdin Dorjee
, 52 passed away in his self-immolation protest in the same region on October 13.
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 55 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The recently concluded meeting of exile Tibetans to discuss the ongoing crisis in Tibet had sent a strong message of unity and solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and a call for greater activism in exile.
The special meeting, while expressing concern over the loss of Tibetan lives, declared that the Chinese government will be held solely responsible in the event of the situation inside Tibet escalating further.