Monday, September 29, 2008

Tibetan Monks Missing Since April Raid: TCHRD

5 monks are reportedly missing since the raid by Chinese security officials on Ramoche Temple following protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa in March. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said the whereabouts of Ramoche monastery’s Chagzoed (manager and treasurer) Sonam Rabgyal and four other monks could not be ascertained. The monks, say the Tibetan right group based here, were arrested during a ‘midnight raid in monks' residence on 7 April 2008’.

Sonam Rabgyal, 39, a native of Markham County, Chamdo Prefecture, "Tibet Autonomous Region" ('TAR'), Damdul, Rabgyal and two others of Ramoche Temple located in Lhasa came under the suspicion of Chinese police for engaging in pro-Dalai Lama activities.

According to the TCHRD, the monks held a long life offering prayer to the Dalai Lama and read aloud requests for prayer offerings (Tib: Kyabtho) making direct reference to the Dalai Lama's long life and quick resolution of the Tibet issue during the annual Great Prayer Festival (Monlam Chenmo) on 14 February this year. According to sources, the "work team" under the "Patriotic Re-education" Campaign stationed inside the temple knew about their action and interrogated the monks for many days.

On 7 April 2008, around 70 monks of Ramoche Temple were detained after the PSB and PAP forces carried out midnight raid in monks' residences. Although most were released after days of interrogation the whereabouts and conditions of the five- monks still are not known, TCHRD said.

Sources have told TCHRD that religious artifacts made of gold and silver had disappeared after the raid. “Severe restrictions still continue to be put on the movement of the monks of major monasteries since protests broke out in March.

”Even today China has the major monasteries around Lhasa virtually sealed off though officially declaring them reopened to tourism and pilgrimage.

Ramoche Temple housed 115 monks, a mandatory limit set by the Chinese authorities.


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