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Chinese forces detain thirty-two monks in Tibet
The Tibet issue refuses to die down. International outcry against Chinese brutality in Tibet, has failed to budge the dragon. In the latest incident, the Chinese security forces have detained thirty-two monks in Tibet.
THE CHINESE Army today (May 9) detained thirty two monks in a monastery in Chushul. Presently, they are in the PSB detention centre, according to the information received from Dharmshala. According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), the monks of Ratoe Monastery staged a peaceful protest in Nyethang township, in Chushul county of Lhasa municipality, Tibet.

The protest was initially led by a group of monks of the Ratoe Monastery. The protesters marched for about two and half kilometres on their way to the township government head office chanting ’freedom in Tibet’, ’Independence for Tibet’ and ’Long live Dalai Lama’.

When the protesters reached near the government head office, they were halted and blocked by the Chinese security forces. The peaceful protest was defused and sent back. No arrests were made at that time.

However, later, the Chinese authorities came to the monastery and stepped up intense political and ’patriotic re-education’ campaigns against what they describe as inroads made by the ’Dalai Clique and separatist forces’ in the monastery. At the same time, the monks were repeatedly pressed by the authorities to surrender. Apparently, not a single monk surrendered and relented to the diktat issued by the authorities.

According to the reports, hundreds of Chinese security forces, consisting of Public Security Bureau and People’s Armed Police, surrounded the monastery in the morning. Shortly afterwards, the security forces raided the monks’ residences to search for weapons and other incriminating materials.

However, during the raid, no guns, weapons or other incriminating materials were found in the monks’ residences. The photos of the Dalai Lama and mobile phones were confiscated by the security forces.

In the ensuing moments, the security forces arrested 50 monks of the monastery for taking part in the peaceful protest. They were detained in the detention centre. However, since then, 18 monks have been released. Currently, thirty two monks are still in detention.

As per the information, most of the detainee monks are in the early twenties. A former political prisoner Namkar, 45, was among the detainees. He had earlier served two years imprisonment term in Drapchi prison for taking part in pro-Independence uprising of 1989, in Lhasa. Ironically, one of the detainees was also identified as a 38 year-old Thupchok, a prominent Democratic Management Committee (DMC) team member of the monastery. As a DMC team members, he had been directly responsible for implementing the controversial and much resented ’patriotic education’ campaign in the monastery.

The situation in Ratoe Monastery is currently said to be calm and restricted, and is believed to be housing around 90 monks. The Chinese authorities have denied total visitation rights to the thirty-two detainee monks. There has been no further information about their present condition and well being.

The Dharmshala based centre, expressed its serious concern at the continuous detention of the monks, whose only crime had been to express their grievances in a peaceful manner. The Chinese Constitution and Law guarantees its citizen the right to freedom of expression and opinion. In this context, TCHRD believes the monks of the Ratoe Monastery have not violated the law of the land and had not resorted to any action that undermined the Chinese Constitution.

TCHRD, therefore, has appealed to the authorities to immediately release all the detained monks and also to ensure a speedy restoration of normalcy in the monastery. The centre has also called upon the intervention of the United Nations and other international bodies to secure the release of the detained monks.

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