DHARAMSHALA, October 19: In continuing crackdown in the Wonpo region of Dzachukha, eastern Tibet, Chinese security forces have arrested seven more Tibetans in connection with a Tibetan flag raising protest that occurred earlier this September.
Three monks of the Wonpo Monastery were arbitrarily detained on Thursday while four more monks were arrested earlier today, taking the total number of arrested monks in this week to 12.
Speaking to Phayul, Jampa Younten, a monk living in south India with close contacts in the region, identified the three monks arrested on October 18 as Ludrub, Lobsang Drubsel, and Lobsang Tharchin.
“More than a dozen Chinese security personnel raided the personal quarters of Lobsang Drubsel and Lobsang Tharchin and confiscated a number of personal essays,” Younten said.
Earlier this morning, four more monks, identified as Sozang, the Monastery’s secretary, Soenyi, Thakchoe, and Wangyal were arrested.
The same source said that in the afternoon, Chinese authorities assembled all the monks of the Wonpo Monastery in an attempt to identify those who were involved in the flag raising protest.
“All the monks were made to write in Tibetan language so that the Chinese authorities could match their handwritings with the ones that were found on the pamphlets scattered during the protest.”
In a strong expression of defiance against China’s rule, protesters had pulled down a Chinese flag and raised the Tibetan national flag at a school in Wonpo on September 7, this year. Leaflets carrying the words ‘Freedom for Tibet,’ written in red ink were also found scattered on the school grounds.
Although, local Chinese officials did not make any arrests that time, they vowed to investigate the incident.
Chinese security forces had recently carried out night raids in the Wonpo region, blocking the exits and cutting all communication channels. Five monks were arrested in night raids on October 15.
Following the arrests and the large scale deployment of Chinese armed forces, the entire region is being described as “very tense” and under “severe surveillance.”
In April 2008, during the pan-Tibet uprisings, monks at the Wonpo Monastery had refused to hoist the Chinese flag at a flag raising ceremony on the top of their monastery. In the increased repression and house-to-house raids that followed, a Tibetan woman named Tri Lhamo committed suicide soon after Chinese security personnel barged into her home and tore down and trampled upon photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.