DHARAMSHALA, January 22: Four young Tibetan monks have been handed down harsh sentences on unknown reasons as part of China’s growing crackdown in Tibet amid the ongoing wave of self-immolations.
The four monks of the Gyalrong Tsodun Kirti Monastery in Ngaba region of eastern Tibet have been identified as Namsey, 18; Yarphel, 18; Lobsang Sengye, 19, and Asung, 22.
Dharamshala based rights group, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, in a release Monday said the Barkham Intermediate People’s Court in Ngaba passed down the sentence sometime in mid-January.
Namsey has been sentenced to 10 years while Yarphel is serving six years’ imprisonment. Lobsang Sangay and Asong have been sentenced to two years, and two years and six months respectively.
“It is not known on what charges the monks were sentenced but local sources say the monks might have been sentenced on suspicion that they were involved in the self-immolation protests that occurred at the monastery in 2012,” TCHRD said.
On March 30, 2012, Tsodun monks, Chime Palden, 21 and Tenpa Dhargyal, 22, set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule. Chime Palden died a day after his fiery protest while Tenpa Dhargyal passed away a week later.
On July 17, 2012, Tsodun monk, Lobsang Lozin, 18, self-immolated near the monastery’s main prayer hall and succumbed to his injuries the same day.
Following the self-immolation protests Tsodun Monastery has become a frequent target of crackdown and detention as the Chinese authorities attempt to end self-immolation protests, TCHRD noted.
The four sentenced monks are among the five Tsodun monks who were earlier arrested in August 2012
in night raids by Chinese security personnel.
On August 12, Lobsang Sengye, Yarphel, and Namsey, were arrested in night raids from their monastic quarters while Thubwang Tenzin, 20, and Asung were arrested from their quarters on August 16.
The exile base of the Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala earlier told Phayul that Chinese security personnel, armed with weapons, have been carrying out night raids in each and every quarter of the monks in the Monastery, beating and interrogating them at gun point.
The current condition and whereabouts of the fifth monk Thubwang Tenzin continues to remain unknown.
Gyalrong Tsodun Kirti monastery is located some 80 kilometers to the north of Barkham town and is one of the biggest Gelug monasteries in Gyalrong region.