By Tenzin Dharpo
Choekyi, monk of Phurbu Monastery/file
Dharamsala, July 27: Reports have emerged of arrests of three Tibetans including a monk in connection with celebrations of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last month in Serta County, Sichuan province, reported the Voice of Tibet
Choekyi, a 38-year-old monk of Phurbu monastery, had been arrested with charges of engaging in ‘anti government’ activities along with two of his kin. He was wearing a t-shirt with Tibetan texts “kue-gya-ton-su” on the back, which loosely translates into ‘celebrating His Holiness’s 80th Birthday’.
Chinese police arrested him while he was shopping along with his father near the premises of the monastery and took him to the Serta administrative compound where he is currently held. His niece Kyizom and nephew Drakpa were also detained but later released after being detained for a several days. However, Drakpa was given strict orders to report to the local Chinese government office every day for further questioning.
Choekyi’s family, comprised of father Gyanyuk and mother Tsering Kyi, reside in Sho Dewa village in Serta County.
Inside Tibet, the celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday had resulted in heightened security and restriction on the movement of Tibetan people especially in eastern Tibet for the last month.
Another Tibetan, Tsering Dhondup, 25, was arrested for allegedly posting pictures of the banned Tibetan flag and the Dalai Lama on micromessaging app WeChat in Rebkong County, Qinghai Province.
Strict restrictions were imposed by the Chinese authorities months before the 80th birthday of the Tibetan leader. With restrictions on communication in Tibetan areas around the Tibetan leader’s birthday exile Tibetans claim there could be more arrests of Tibetans that have gone unreported.