Monday, February 9, 2009
7 monks arrested, abbot missing in Chamdo
Seven monks of Den Choekhor monastery in Jomda county, Chamdo prefecture, were arrested on January 24 and are currently held at Jomda county detention center, a monk of Drepung monastery in India with contacts in the area told phayul.
The seven monks are Chant leader Nima Tsering, disciplinarian Lhundup, Nyichey, Tsering Palden, Ngawang Tashi, Tado and Tashi Dawa. The abbot of the monastery, Tenzin Gyalsten, has also gone missing. Tenzin studied from 1995 to 2003 at Drepung Loseling monastery in south India. He returned to Tibet and taught dialectics at Denchoekhor monastery before being appointed the abbot in November 2008.
Around 300 people including monks of Den Choekhor monastery in Jomda County took part in a protest demonstration at the government administrative office on January 10, 2009. The source told phayul that the protest was carried out to stop the local authorities from taking a Tibetan dance troupe to Lhasa to participate in the celebration of the “Serf Emancipation day” on March 28.
“It is a deliberate attempt to humiliate the Tibetans who are not completely recovered from last year’s military crackdown. The Chinese are intentionally hurting the Tibetan people’s sentiments.”The same source said two explosions had occurred near the government administrative building in Choekhor Township on January 5, 2009 causing heavy damage to property but no casualties were reported.
The authorities investigating into the matter have not been able to arrest anyone in connection with the explosions. According to the source, there has been strong military presence in the area beginning January 12 and heavy restrictions have been placed on the movement of Tibetans.
“The authorities, who accused monks of Den Choekhor monastery of the explosion of January 5, forcefully took several monks to the local government office for interrogation, and asked the monks to sign a document that, among others, renounced His Holiness the Dalai Lama. No one, however, signed the document.”
On January 16, a senior chant leader Gen Jamshey of Den Choekhor monastery was detained, the source said. “Fearing public agitation, the authorities told them Gen. Jamshey had to attend a meeting in Jomda County. The authorities then took him to Dege county where he was put in another vehicle and driven away.”
It is not known where Gen Jamshey is currently held. The dance troupe refused to travel to Lhasa but was forced off on January 15. Some members of the troupe, says our source, fled on the night of January 14. Two monks, Tsetan Sonam and Choekyong, were beaten up severely, the source said.
Names of people and places have been spelled as they are pronounced in Tibetan, and may not be correct