Tag: refugee

Chinese authorities in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) are persecuting monks and nuns who travel to other Tibetan areas outside of TAR to pursue religious studies, calling them ‘social prisoners’.

Two Tibetan monks, Bhagdro and Deri, who fled Tibet to India early this month told TCHRD that monks and nuns who earn the label ‘social prisoners’ (Tib: chitsok ki tsonpa) are being detained, harassed and interrogated by local Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. The so-called ‘social prisoners’ are being persecuted for crossing the TAR border and travelling to other Tibetan areas in Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces to pursue religious education.

Bhagdro, 23, and Deri, 21, hail from Lhari (Ch: Jiali) County and Sog (Ch: Suo) County respectively in Nagchu Prefecture. Both monks had left their respective home monasteries to pursue further studies at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Sertha (Ch: Seda) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province). Fearing that they would be stigmatised as ‘social prisoners’, they chose not to return home and fled into exile to India. 

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Tenzin Dawa (name changed), 36, is a Tibetan monk from Barmi Monastery in Tsongru (Ch: Chonger) Township of Dzoege (Ch: Ru’ergai) County, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo. Dzoege County has witnessed at least seven confirmed self-immolation protests so far.

Tenzin Dawa reached India early this month. He is also a former disciple of Gyen Kunchok Nyima, a Buddhist scholar and teacher at Drepung Monastery who went missing since April 2008 after his detention and subsequent sentencing to 20 years in prison. Tenzin Dawa says there are many disciples of Gyen Kunchok Nyima looking for information about the whereabouts of their teacher. No one knows where the Buddhist scholar is imprisoned or whether he is alive.

In his testimony to TCHRD, Tenzin Dawa recounts the current situation inside Tibet in particular his hometown in Dzoege where local Chinese authorities have planted spies in every village to monitor conversations and keep a strict watch over Tibetan activities, in an ongoing effort to prevent self-immolation and other protests.

The testimony also contains details on how Chinese authorities attempted to pressure local Tibetans to sign an official order that forbids any kind of activities to support or sympathise with self-immolation protests.

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