The current fate and whereabouts of Adruk Lopoe, a 45-year old monk who was arrested by the Lithang County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials on the evening of 21 August 2007, still remain unknown. According to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), the Lithang County PSB officials released Adruk Gyatso and Adruk Nyima- two brothers of Adruk Lopoe six hours after their detention but they are still known to be under close surveillance.
Following a brief detention at Lithang County PSB Detention Centre, Adruk Lopoe was known to have been transferred to other an unknown location by the authorities.
Adruk Lopoe was born in 1962 to Adruk Wangdue (father) and Ronggye Tsewang Dolma (mother) in Yonru Kharshul Village, Ponkar Township, Lithang County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (“TAP”) Sichuan Province. He was the eldest among seven children of Adruktsang family. At the age of eight, Adruk Lopoe was ordained as a monk and joined the Lithang Monastery. Over the years, Adruk Lopoe excelled in Buddhist studies that he was later appointed a chant master (Tib: Omzey) of the Monastery. Adruk also worked as the disciplinary master (Tib: Geykoe) at Yonru Rabgyeling Monastery for few years, one of the 113 smaller monasteries affiliated to Lithang Monastery. It is also learnt that Adruk just before his arrest on 21 August 2007 was on a short break after a yearlong meditation retreat at Yonru Rabgyeling Monastery, Lithang County. Adruk Lopoe has been arbitrarily detained after calling for the release of Ronggye A’drak, who is still in the custody of Lithang PSB Detention Centre after speaking about the importance of the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet to a large Tibetan crowd gathered for the horse-race festival earlier this month.
Adruk Lopoe was also a very strong proponent of the need of education for the youth and a leading advocate against deforestation, lumbering and wildlife hunting in Kardze. The local populace believe that, his genuine calls and concerns over the years may have infuriated the authorities that he was put under a close watch and thus arrested him. Adruk Lopoe is a well-known and respected figure in the area.
During 1997-98, at the height of ‘Patriotic re-education’ campaign launched by the Chinese authorities across monasteries and nunneries in Tibet, Adruk Lopoe was appointed a Deputy Director of the Democratic Management Committee (DMC) of Lithang Monastery. The DMCs (Tib: Mangtso Dak nyer u-yon lhan Khang) are administrative organs established in 1962 in religious institutions in Tibet and reconstructed under the 1996 “patriotic re-education” campaign. He, however, resigned from the post fully understanding its spiritual and political ramification that it goes against religious vows in denouncing his spiritual leader-the Dalai Lama.
The DMC carries out the “patriotic re-education” campaign along with County PSB and government officials. The patriotic re-education campaign was started in 1996 in Tibet and carried out across all the religious institutions in Tibet. The campaign introduced a series of political texts into monastic studies as a mandatory requirement. The requirement also stressed allegiance to the State and the denunciation of the Dalai Lama.
The patriotic re-education campaign was also meant to target and suppress any sign of political unrest in religious institutions, which the Chinese authorities deem as a source of political dissidence.
In yet another incident, on 19 August 2007, Lothok, a 36-year old Tibetan nomad and a father of five children from Drakar Latse Village, Lithang County was arbitrarily detained from a guesthouse in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan Province. At the same time, the proprietor of the guesthouse was also briefly detained and released after short interrogation. However, the authorities have given no specific reason for the arrest of Lothok, and no particular information on his whereabouts.
This is the fourth known detention in the series of arbitrary detention in connection with the arrest of A’drak since 1 August 2007 although two of his nephews were released, however, Adruk Lopoe, Lothok and A’drak still continue to be detained by the concerned Chinese authorities.
Since the beginning of 2000, Kardze remains a hotspot of peaceful political protests from where a large number of Tibetans were arrested for their open defiance of calling for freedom and their courage to demonstrate unflinching faith in their spiritual leaders. The latest arrest of Ronggye A’drak, his nephews, Lothok and two female supporters of Trulku Tenzin Delek this month clearly demonstrates the political unrest in Kardze particularly in Lithang County. The situation still remains to be tense.
TCHRD considers the recent calls of the Tibetan people in Lithang area a genuine expression of their concerns and despairs that continue to exist in all other part of Tibet as a result of China’s repressive policies. The government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) should immediately address the concerns of local Tibetan people rather than suppressing them with iron fist.
TCHRD calls upon the PRC government, a member of the UN Human Rights Council to put an end to the rampant practice of arbitrary detention and respect the Tibetan people’s right to freedom of expression, faith and peaceful expression of their aspirations which are enshrined in the constitution and major UN human rights treaties and covenants that she is party to.
List of arrests and detentions in Lithang in chronological order:
- China intensified restriction in Trulku Tenzin Delek Monastery. On 19 July 2007 the Chinese authorities in Lithang County prohibited the monks of Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchup Choeling Monastery in Lithang from carrying a reception ceremony of Trulku Tenzin Delek’s portrait during the inauguration of a newly built assembly prayer hall.
- Two Tibetan women, O’dho and Apha Bhomo, both in their late 50’s and residents of Othok Village, Nyagchuka County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture “TAP” Sichuan Province, were arrested on 19 July 2007 by the Nyagchuka County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials on alleged ‘crime’ of instigating people to join their call for Trulku Tenzin Delek’s release.
- 1 August 2007, Ronggye A’drak was arrested for staging a public protest
speaking about the importance of the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet to a large Tibetan crowd gathered for the annual horse-race festival. Currently known to be detained at Lithang County PSB Detention Centre.
- 19 August 2007, Lothok, a Tibetan nomad and father of five children from Dakar Latse Village, Lithang County was arbitrarily detained from a guesthouse in Chengdu, Sichuan.
- 21 August 2007, a large number of Lithang PSB and PAP forces suddenly stormed into Ronggye A’drak’s native village, Yonru Kharshul Village, Lithang County, arbitrarily arrested three of his nephews Adruk Lopoe, Adruk Nyima and Adruk Gyatso. Although Nyima and Gyatso were released six hours after their arrest, Adruk Lopoe still continues to be detained and shifted to an unknown location.