Monks of Drepung Monastery detained during Patriotic Education campaign

A number of monks of Drepung Monastery in Tibet were detained by the Chinese security officials in and around 12 April 2008 following the monks’ protest against Chinese “Work Team” who paid a visit to the monastery to conduct “Patriotic Education” Campaign, according to confirmed information received from reliable sources by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR” ) authorities sent the “Legal Information Education” “Work Team” as a part of the “patriotic education” campaign to Drepung Monastery in and around 12 April 2008, according to the official mouthpiece, Xinhua, dated 13 April 2008.

According to reliable sources, a new “Work Team” on “Legal and Information Education” arrived in Drepung Monastery to start “Patriotic Education” campaign to the Drepung monks, however, the monks protested in unison against the campaign. Later security forces were called into the monastery by the “Work Team” to control the protesting monks. Number of Tibetan monks were immediately detained and taken away to unknown location by the security forces for interrupting and protesting the campaign. There is no information on the condition and whereabouts of those detainees.

The “Patriotic Education” campaign which was reinvigorated across various monastic institutions in Tibet requires monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and to oppose the ongoing protests in addition to usual political indoctrination sessions. The new ‘work team’ of “legal and information education” was primarily aimed at informing the monastic institution about the legal and other consequences of taking part in political activities as most of recent protests across Tibet were led by the monastic community.

Although, the official Chinese mouthpiece, Xinhua, dated 13 April covered the incident of visit by “Work Team” to Drepung Monastery, however, it suppressed the protest and detention of monks in its report.

All roads leading towards Drepung Monastery were known to have been sealed off with extra deployment of armed police forces. The movements of the monks in the monastery were severely restricted with security personnel curbing access to outside visitors to the monastery including devotees.

TCHRD calls upon the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government to release all those Tibetans who have been detained for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in the UDHR, Chinese constitution and many other international covenants and treaties that she is party to. The Centre also calls upon the PRC to immediately put an end to “Patriotic Education” campaign across all religious institutions in Tibet. The government of the PRC should ensure that the arrestees are not subjected to ill treatment and torture, which are common features in Chinese administered detention centres and prisons in Tibet

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