Abbot and senior monk detained for holding prayer for Dalai Lama’s health

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Chinese authorities have arbitrarily detained two high-ranking monks of Chogri Monastery in connection with a mass prayer ceremony held recently for the good health and well-being of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Drango (Ch: Luhuo) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham.

According to reliable information received by TCHRD, the abbot named Pagah and Geshe Orgyen of Chogri Monastery were recently detained after a mass prayer ceremony was organized on 25 January by both the monastic and lay community in Tehor Township in Drango County.

Khenpo Pagah
Khenpo Pagah

The prayer ceremony was held following the news of the Dalai Lama’s medical treatment at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. In and out of Tibet, the news of the mass prayer ceremony at Chogri Monastery spread widely on social media platforms. Despite this, no immediate detention or arrests were made by the local authorities in Tehor.

However, on 31 January, local authorities issued an order banning the display of the Dalai Lama’s photos in shops and places where crowds gather. The order signed by four different local offices including the Drango County Cultural Tourism Bureau, Drango County Public Security Bureau and County Religious Affairs Bureau, further announced that display of the Dalai Lama’s photos sends the wrong message to the masses and called for mandatory submission of all photos of Dalai Lama by 2 February. Those defying the order would be dealt with severely, according to the order.

Geshe Orgyen
Geshe Orgyen

Abbot Pagah and Geshe Orgyen were most likely detained in the first week of this month, although TCHRD source is unable to confirm the exact date. Pagah is almost 40 years old and hails from Tsogo Township in Drango County. Geshe Orgyen is about 50 years old and was born in Tehor Township. Both had completed their religious education in south India before returning to Tibet: Pagah from Drepung Monastery in Mungod and Orgyen from Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe in the Indian state of Karnataka.

Following the detention of the abbot and the senior monk of Chogri Monastery, local authorities have deployed a large number of Chinese security forces to monitor and control both the monastic and lay community in Tehor.