By Choekyi Lhamo
Chinese armed forces in Wonpo region of Zachukha following the arrests of 5 Tibetans (2012)
DHARAMSHALA, JAN 7: Chinese authorities still hold five Tibetan monks from Dza Wonpo Ganden Shedrub Monastery who were arrested on Nov 7 for scattering pro-independence leaflets in the courtyard of a Chinese government office building in Sershul county.
The monks, identified as Kunsal (20), Tsultrim (18), Tamey (18) and Soeta (18) were nabbed from their rooms of the monastery in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Another monk, Nyimey, was also taken into custody on Nov 18 after showing online support for those arrested. A duo named Choegyal (Nyimey’s brother) and Yonten were also arrested on Nov 21 for a similar pro-independence protest following the arrests of these monks.
Jampa Yonten, a monk at Sera monastery in India, told Radio Free Asia
that “the seven are still being detained”, citing sources in the region. Between Nov 24 and Jan 3, he learned from his sources that the Dza Mey local government had arrested around 30 people, including monks, on different charges, keeping them detained for more than a month. The use of social media, displaying pictures of the Dalai Lama or having contact with outside Tibet are the ‘illegal’ activities or charges for the arrest.
Jampa Yonten said that the 30 detainees are only fed barley flour and were given re-education classes for two weeks. The authorities threatened to punish the masses if they ever involve themselves in any ‘political’ activities. Mobile phones of locals living in the Wonpo Township and other townships nearby were searched thoroughly and summoned to the police station by the Chinese. “They were interrogated and forced to sign certain documents,” Jampa Yonten added. Following the incident, Chinese army personnel poured into Wonpo Township which has caused fear among the local Tibetan residents.
Another RFA source said that the presence of the Chinese security forces were patrolling in the town between Nov 7 and Dec 12, and they have since withdrawn their forces but it has caused fear and restricted free movement of Tibetans.
Dza Wonpo monastery drew increased police scrutiny in 2012 when monks refused to hoist Chinese national flags on the monastery’s rooftop, ensuing crackdown on monks, and scores of arbitrary detentions and arrests. The monastery also witnessed tight restrictions following widespread protests across Tibet in 2008.