Lone Tibetan Protester Calling for Return of Dalai Lama Detained Incommunicado in Ngaba

Chinese authorities have detained incommunicado a Tibetan monk from the local Kirti Monastery for staging a peaceful solo protest against repressive policies in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

On 26 March, a Tibetan monk named Pema was arbitrarily detained and subjected to incommunicado detention by the local Public Security Bureau Officers for staging a peaceful solo protest by holding a portrait of the Dalai Lama on the stretch of a road known to the local Tibetans as’ martyrs road’ in Ngaba County. Local witnesses reported hearing Pema shouting slogans calling for the “Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and “Religious Freedom in Tibet,” among others.

Pema, who is in his 50s, is son of Toepa and a native of Soruma village in Ngaba County. Pema serves as a primary teacher at the Kirti Monastery while pursuing higher Buddhist studies. He is widely known in the monastery as Gen Pema (English: Teacher Pema).

Following Pema’s arbitrary arrest, Chinese security forces have intensified their control and restrictions in Ngaba County, especially in Soruma village and Kirti Monastery.

A source informed TCHRD that “prior to deleting his WeChat account, Chinese authorities contacted individuals on his contact list, seeking information about their identities. His personal WeChat is now inaccessible and has been deleted.”

On several occasions, Pema has confronted the local police authorities for pressuring young monks to be enrolled in state-run schools and forcing them to stop attending the Kirti monastic school.

March is considered a ‘politically sensitive’ month by Chinese authorities because of the 10 March anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day that led to the exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans since 1959. The annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are also held the same month, leading to heightened restrictions in all parts of Tibet.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is gravely concerned about Pema’s fate and whereabouts. His current location remains a mystery, and we call for his immediate and unconditional release. Chinese authorities must also disclose Pema’s whereabouts and condition to his family members without delay and guarantee his physical and mental well-being.

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