Abbot expelled and nuns arrested

Rev. Palden Dhondup, the 80-year-old abbot of Chubsang Nunnery north of Lhasa, was expelled from the nunnery in July 1996.

According to our source, on July 1 (“Zamling Chisang”, or the festival of incense offering) four Chubsang nuns were arrested for demonstrating in the Barkhor area of the Jokhang Temple. They were; Phuntsok Youdon (20) from Medro Gong, Thinley Yangkyi (18) from Rading and Nyida Wangmo (17) from Lhokha. The name of the fourth nun is as yet unknown.

On July 2, a further four Chubsang nuns were arrrested, again for demonstrations. They were; Jamphel (22) from Taktse, Lobsang Choeden (17) from Taktse, Tsering Lhamo (20) from Rading and the name of the fourth is presently unknown.

On 2 July 1996 officials from the Lhasa Religious Bureau and Dhondup, the Secretary of Treng Kon County of Nyang Rel Sub-district, CCP, Dhondup, along with eight of his colleagues arrived at the nunnery. The abbot and the nuns were called for a meeting during which Dhondup threatened to expel any nun who refused to pledge allegiance to the “Motherland” and refrain from engaging in “separatist activities”.

The same day, Sec. Dhondup said that Paldan Dhondup was too old to carry out his responsibilities as the abbot of the nunnery and so he would be relieved of his responsibilities. Paldan Dorje wanted to speak out but he was not given a chance. On July 3, the same officials came to the nunnery and conducted an election for the appointment of the Director of the nunnery’s “Democratic Management Committee”. All of the nuns voted for Paldan Dhondup but they announced the name of a monk Jamphel as the new Director.

Paldan Dhondup had been Abbot of the nunnery for many years and was well-liked and respected by the nuns. He is presently staying at one of the colleges at Sera Monastery, and the eight nuns who were arrested are being detained in Gutsa Detention Centre awaiting sentencing.

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