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China prematurely releases four Zilkar monks
Phayul[Wednesday, August 14, 2013 13:52]
Lobsang Samten (L), Lobsang Nyima (C) and Sonam Gyewa (R), phayul photo/file
Lobsang Samten (L), Lobsang Nyima (C) and Sonam Gyewa (R), phayul photo/file
DHARAMSHALA, August 14: Chinese authorities in Qinghai province have released four Tibetan monks from a Re-education Through Labour (Ch: Laojiao) camp in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based here said in a release.

The four monks from Nyatso Zilkar Monastery, Sonam Gewa, Lobsang Samten, Lobsang Nyima and Tenzin Sherab were released prematurely before the completion of their sentences.

Tenzin Sherab, who was serving a one year sentence, was arrested on 1 October last year for circulating a newspaper called Mar-jen (Raw Red). The Tibetan right group said the newspaper “apparently carried contents related to self-immolation protest.” He was released on 15 July 2013. He was severely beaten and tortured during detention, the TCHRD noted citing its sources. He was forced to work for 16 hours with a brief lunch break in the copper wire and gloves manufacturing unit of the prison factory, according to the TCHRD.

Lobsang Nyima and Sonam Gewa, released respectively on 18 July and 25 July, underwent excessive hard labour in the glassworks and gloves manufacturing unit where they had to make 650 gloves in a day. TCHRD cited local sources saying that Lobsang Samten who was released on 23 July found the daily military drill the most painful for him.

Monks and laypeople of Tridu face the Chinese security forces (not seen in this pic) on February 8, 2012, Phayul photo/file
Monks and laypeople of Tridu face the Chinese security forces (not seen in this pic) on February 8, 2012, Phayul photo/file
The three were arrested on 8 February 2012 from their living quarters at the monastery in connection with a protest march on the same day that involved some 1400 Tibetans who carried banners and shouted slogans calling for the return of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalia Lama.

Thousands of Tibetans in Tridu area had led a peaceful protest, carrying banners demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and respect for Tibetan lives, coinciding with the global solidarity vigil on February 8 last year.

Around 400 monks from the Zilkar monastery had led the protest march to Dza Toe town on February 8 last year but were stopped by Chinese security forces. The monks were then joined by over a thousand laypeople. The monks unfurled banners, written in blue and red ink, symbolic of the two protector deities of Tibet, release of Tibetan political prisoners including the XIth Panchen Lama and respect for Tibetan lives.No arrests were made during the protest.

Re-education Through Labour (RTL) is the most common and severe form of arbitrary detention, TCHRD said, adding that it is “a remnant of China’s revolutionary period in the 1950s when it was used to imprison “counterrevolutionaries.”
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