Amid news of heightened restrictions and increased detention, an uncle of Dorjee Lhundup, a Tibetan farmer who set his body on fire in protest against the Chinese government, was detained recently in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.
According sources with contacts in the region, Yarphel, 42, uncle of Dorjee Lhundup, a farmer in his 20s, was detained on the morning of 2 February. Yarphel, a monk at Yershong Monastery, was detained along with fellow monk, Rabyang. Both were taken to the local police station and interrogated for long hours.
At the end of the interrogation, sources said the police officers decided to sentence Yarphel. Rabyang was sent home as he is chronically sick and has a sick mother to take care of.
Both monks were charged of indulging in ‘illegal’ activities such as carrying portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dorjee Lhundup during a non-violent procession when monks and lay Tibetans carried the ashes of Dorjee Lhundup to his home village, Chumar Logshong. At the procession, Yarphel was carrying a photograph of Dorjee Lhundup and Rabyang carried a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
On 4 November, days before the 18th Chinese Party Congress, Dorjee Lhundup self-immolated and died.
The monks’ detention has raised enormous concerns among the family members of the monks, said sources. Local Tibetans are said to be losing faith in the conduct of Chinese government.
Yarphel’s father’s name is Lubum Gyal.