On 27 February, a senior Tibetan monk and head of the Mura Monastery hospital was detained for the second time by Chinese police in Machu (Ch: Maqu) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.
Khedup, 50, was taken into custody by the County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers when collecting his personal belongings. These had been confiscated during his first arrest. The County PSB office summoned Khedup to pick up his mobile phone and other belongings and ordered the monk to come in layman clothing. He was later taken into custody at the PSB office.
More than two months after his rearrest, Khedup’s whereabouts remain unknown to his family. The County PSB has not acknowledged or given reasons for the monk’s secret detention. According to local Tibetan sources, Chinese authorities have accused Khedup of posting teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on social media. Also writing blogposts to express solidarity with the displaced monks and nuns from Larung Gar, religious freedom, and cultural rights. He is also held responsible for posting similar writings authored by other Tibetans.
Khedup was first detained earlier in December 2016 by the County United Front Work Department (UFWD), the Communist Party agency that is responsible for Tibetan affairs. He was detained at around 11 pm on 13 December from his residence at the monastery. His wherabouts remained unknown during the entire duration of his detention until his release on 21 January 2017. When Tseten, a management officer and Mura Gyapa, a doctor from Mura Monastery, enquired about Khedup at the County PSB Detention Centre, the latter had no information about the monk’s whereabouts. When the news about Khedup’s disappearance spread, local Tibetans approached the PSB office to demand information. The PSB officers then admitted that Khedup was arrested by County UFWD and but claimed that they didn’t know the reasons for his arrest.
Khedup had travelled to India and Nepal in 2012 and 2014 for religious pilgrimage. In India, he took the gelong (monastic ) vows and in Nepal, he went on a retreat for some months. On his return to Tibet, he was suspected of harbouring political motives and was repeatedly interrogated and put under the police observation.
Khedup was born in 1967 in Mura Township. At 13, Khedup’s mother Bhelkho died and he was separated from his father Khelkho. At a young age, Khedup and his sister had to go through many hardships after their family was singled out for criticism campaigns due to the large herds of animals Khedup’s nomadic family owned. At 14, he joined Mura Monastery where he studied Buddhist philosophy. Later, he moved to Labrang Tashikyil Monastery to study poetry and astrology. After finishing his studies, he returned to help with the reconstruction of Mura Monastery, which was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. He has held various positions at the monastery as the head, disciplinarian, administrator, chant master and teacher. At the time of his detention, he was the director and head of the Mura Monastery hospital. He is also an accomplished veterinary doctor. He later excelled in the field and helped in treating sick herds in the Tibetan nomadic community in Machu.