Situation extremely tense in Xiahe County, defiant monks in front of media tour disappears

The situation at Labrang Monastery in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County is extremely tense today. Thousands of People’s Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) personnels have surrounded Labrang Monastery in the aftermath of arrest of hundreds of monks, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

On 7 May 2008, thousands of PAP and PSB officers (estimated around 5000) surrounded Labrang Monastery and carried a sudden raid in the monastery. During the raid, around 140 monks were arrested and taken away for detention. The next day a large number of monks of the monastery protested calling for the release of the monks arrested on the previous day. The authorities upon fearing the protest to escalate further, released all the detained monks except for 18 monks. However, the monks continued to call for the release of the remaining 18 monks and the authorities gave in by releasing another 11 out of the 18 monks today morning.

Despite additional contingents of armed police arriving at the monastery, monks in large number have again protested against the authorities to release the remaining seven monks but the authorities flatly refused to do so, challenging the monks to take any counter measure. TCHRD fears the protest might intensify and result in bloodshed as the monks are learned to be determined to secure the release of the remaining seven monks at all cost.

Defiant monks dissappear

In another confirmed information received from the area, two monks who defiantly spoke out in front of the government managed media tour in Sangchu County on 7 April 2008, are known to be have been disappeared. Shortly after the media visit to the area, Thabkhey and Tsundue, have disappeared. The local Tibetan residents fear that the police have secretly lifted them for their defiant action which caused major embarrassment to the government of the People’s Republic of China. The family members of the two monks have approached the local PSB headquarters regarding their whereabouts, however, the authorities feigned ignorance about the two. Till date, nobody knows about their whereabouts and the family members live in anxiety over fear of them being killed extrajudicially.

TCHRD believes that this is a case of enforced and involuntary disappearance enacted by the state law enforcement bodies. The Centre fears that the two monks might be extrajudicially killed if timely intervention is not effected by the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID). The Centre appeals the UNWGEID to issue an express intervention on the whereabouts of the two monks

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