DHARAMSHALA, December 23: Several months after a large number of Tibetans took part in the “Global Solidarity Campaign” called by the exile Tibetan administration in February this year, details are finally emerging of the protests followed by China’s crackdown.
On February 8, coinciding with the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration’s call for worldwide Tibet solidarity campaigns, monks from the Bhenkar Monastery in Driru, central Tibet, led a mass protest against the Chinese government.
Speaking to Phayul, a France based exiled Tibetan Tenzin Thokme, said following the peaceful protest and a candle light vigil for Tibetan self-immolators, several Tibetan monks and laypeople were arrested by Chinese security officials in a widespread crackdown.
“The situation in the entire region has been so tense all year through in Driru region that names, photos, and scant details of the arrested Tibetans are emergning only now,” Thokme said. “Even now, regional Chinese authorities are maintaining a, unprecedented control over the internet and other means of communication.”
According to the same source, in January this year local Chinese officials arrived at the Bhenkar Monastery to conduct ‘patriotic re-education campaign.’ The officials ordered for a Chinese flag to be hoisted atop the Monastery and the establishment of a new security office in the Monastery. They also said reinforced the ban of photos of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and demanded the appointment of a Chinese official to monitor the Monastery finances.
“The Monastery administrators and monk officials refused to implement the orders saying that all monks will leave if such commands come into force,” Thokme said citing sources.
“The Chinese authorities then arrested the abbot, disciplinarian, chant master, treasurer, and other officials of the monastery alleging that they are under the bad influence of splitting China and committed an unlawful act.”
Details on those arrested are not yet available.
Also, following the arrests, Chinese security personnel raided the quarters of the monks at the Bhenkar Monastery and have since maintained a strict clampdown in the entire region.
Known names of those arrested include, Thupten Dhonyoe, Geko Nyendak, Gyatso, Tashi Sonam, Dhakpa Gyaltsen, Bhudro, Tsethar, Yeshe Lodoe, Thupten Jampa, Lochoe, Lhundrub, Gaden Tashi, Bhuchung Nga, Tashi Tsering, Migyur, Rinchen, Norbu and Mig gyur.
The same source added that some of them have been sentenced to one to two years imprisonment, while information on others cannot be ascertained.