By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 10: Dharamshala-based research group Tibet Watch on Thursday reported the demolition of another giant statue of Buddha by Chinese authorities in Drago County, in Kham region. The incident follows the demolitions of a 99-foot Buddha statue, and 45 prayer wheels among others in the same region in the space of just weeks. As per the report, several monks and civilians were detained for expressing their disapproval after the demolition.
“With the temperature dropping below zero these days in Drago, Lhamo Yangkyi, a woman, was tortured in detention, with sources stating that cold water was poured on her and she was beaten by the detention centre authorities. Sources confirmed that another unidentified monk’s eyes have been damaged,” the report stated describing the atrocities being faced by the common Tibetans for questioning the Chinese authorities.
The known detainees so far include Paga, abbot of Drago monastery, Nyima, treasurer, monks Tashi Dorje and Nyima from the same monastery. They were detained after their disagreement with the officials. Tsering Samdup and Trolpa from the town have also been detained along with the others.
This statue demolition incident last month covered by media outlets later revealed that Tibetan monks were beaten and arrested on the suspicion of having sent out information to outside contacts. An anonymous source confirmed to Radio Free Asia that eleven monks from Drago’s Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery have now been arrested by Chinese authorities on suspicion of sending news and photos of the statue’s destruction into exile.
The US State Department voiced their concern over the statue’s destruction last week, “[We] continue to urge PRC authorities to respect the human rights of Tibetans and the preservation of Tibet’s environment as well as the unique cultural, linguistic, and religious identity of Tibetan traditions,” the statement read, adding that US will continue to press Beijing for direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his respective representatives without any preconditions.