China arrests 16 monks for defying “patriotic re-education”

China arrests 16 monks and 2 lay Tibetans in Markham County according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

For over a month the Chinese authorities have been conducting “Patriotic re-education” campaign in Woeser Monastery and Khenpa Lungpa Monastery in Garthog Township, Markham ( Ch: Mangkang) County, Chamdo Prefecture, (Ch: Qamdo) “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR”).

The Chinese authorities have been conducting intense “Patriotic re-education” campaign in Woeser and Khenpa Lungpa Monasteries since the beginning of April 2008. Sources told TCHRD that on 10 May 2008, the Chinese “work team” entered the monasteries to conduct intense and rigorous “Patriotic re-education” campaign which resulted in a bitter and heated arguments between the annoyed monks and the Chinese authorities. However, none of the monks signed off the official documents and nor did they write essays denouncing the Dalai Lama.

In response to the monks’ adamant refusal, the Chinese authorities arrested them. On 12 May 2008, 10 monks of Khenpa Lungpa Monastery were arrested. Similarly on 13 May 2008, 6 monks of Woeser Monastery were also arrested. Two lay Tibetans were later arrested on 14 May 2008.

The “Patriotic re-education” campaign was introduced in 1996 in Tibet to undermine Tibetan people’s loyalty to the Dalai Lama. It was also intended to win over the “hearts and minds of Tibetan people on the side of the Chinese government. But on contrary it has earned notoriety for its brazen attacks on the religious and cultural sentiments of the Tibetan people.

The Woeser and Khenpa Monasteries each housed fewer than a hundred monks on regular basis. In backdrop of the arrests of monks of Woeser Monastery, the remaining monks left the monastery which brought much sadness to the local Tibetan devotees who were unable to come to terms with a sudden closure of sacred monasteries.

On the other hand, the Chinese authorities and “work team” were conducting major “Patriotic re-education” campaign in Khenpa Lungpa Monastery.

Sources told TCHRD that few remaining monks left the monasteries and returned to their respective homes in a solemn act of protest. On usual days hundreds of devotees flock to the monasteries to offer their prayers and carry out religious rituals. Unfortunately, these days the devotees have none to turn to and a visible pall of silence looms over the monasteries and its surrounding premises, in a desolate and forlorn state.

The TCHRD expresses it serious concern about the well being of the arrested Tibetans. The Centre urges the Chinese authorities to immediately put an end to “Patriotic re-education” campaign and to respect the cultural and religious sentiments of the Tibetan people inside Tibet.

The identities of 18 Tibetan arrestees are:

1. Ngawang Tenzin, age 40, Woeser Monastery
2. Tenphel, age 19, Woeser Monastery
3. Rigyang , age 21, Woeser Monastery
4. Choegyal , age 23, Woeser Monastery
5. Lobsang Gyatso, age 19, Woeser Monastery
6. Tsangpa , age 17, Woeser Monastery
7. Lodoe , age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
8. Namgyal , age 18, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
9. Butuk , age 13, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
10. Jamyang Lodoe , age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
11. Tsepak Namgyal, age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
12. Kalsang Tashi, age 17, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
13. Jandup , age 21, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
14. Wangchuk , age 22, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
15. Tenpa Gyaltsen, age 26, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
16. Passang Tashi , age 3o, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
17. Dhargye Garwatsang, age 19 (lay)
18. Kunchok Tenzin, age 21 (lay)

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