By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 15: Two Tibetan brothers, both monks at Nenang monastery in Drago County, have been held incommunicado for the last five months since August 15 2021. The duo, Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima, are currently being held at Tawu county prison by the Chinese officials. According to a Tibet.net report, these officials have withheld all information about the charges from family members.
Although the reason for their arrest is unclear, the source said that it is suspected that they have been held due to their involvement in the monastery’s informal Tibetan language classes for local Tibetan children. “The two monks are amongst those targeted and local authorities have been monitoring them for a long time,” the source further divulged. Wangchen Nyima is an advocate for education and health, and was earlier arrested when the government shut down schools at the monastery in 2015; his brother Orgyan Choedrak had also been arrested during the same incident.
The monks Norbu and Wangchen are nephews of Tulku Choekyi Nyima, the abbot of Nenang monastery. Tulku Choekyi Nyima was a student of Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, the founder of Larung Gar monastic academy. Moreover, other reports suggested that on August 18, Khenpo Thupten and another monk named Bukyo died in a fire, suspected to be set by Chinese officials in the monastery assembly hall.
Several reports of arrests were reported in the Drago County after two Buddha statues were demolished last December. Over a dozen Tibetans had been detained and several have been tortured for opposing government orders; a 99ft and a 30ft Buddha statues in the same vicinity were demolished. The local government has also reportedly planned to build poultry and pig farms at the same location where they demolished Gaden Nangten School last October, which is managed by Drago Monastery.