Young Tibetan monk arbitrarily detained for peaceful solo protest

Lobsang Kalsang
Lobsang Kelsang

A young Tibetan Buddhist monk from Kirti monastery has been detained by the Chinese police for launching a peaceful solo protest in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County town in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

Information received by TCHRD reveals that Lobsang Kelsang, 19, was arrested at around 3 pm local time, on 7 September 2015.

In one of the four brief video footage received by the TCHRD from inside Tibet, Kelsang is seen walking along the streets of Ngaba County town, holding aloft a huge portrait – most probably of the Dalai Lama – and raising slogans for Tibet’s freedom.

As he walked down to the street, around 10 policemen appear from nowhere and immediately manhandle the monk who was just carrying a portrait. As he tries to snatch the portrait away, it falls down and breaks.

The footage also shows a group of Tibetans, including an elderly woman, walking towards the police station and protesting Lobsang Kelsang’s detention in front of the police station.

Baton-wielding policemen in heavy riot gear are then seen hitting at the protestors and chasing them away, while a woman in the background can be heard praying for the Dalai Lama and lamenting that policemen are not allowing the Tibetans to live and that they are being killed.

As of now, Lobsang Kelsang’s whereabouts remains unknown.

Sources within Tibet further claim that police also detained a Tibetan layman in the streets of Ngaba. The man’s identity remains unknown.

Sources from inside Tibet said that Lobsang Kelsang had witnessed the arrests and imprisonment of many of his close relatives in the past.

Last year, Lobsang Tenpa, Lobsang Kelsang’s maternal sibling and roommate at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, was sentenced to two years in prison following his protest against the Chinese government in the streets of Ngaba. He is currently held in a Chinese prison.

In 2008, his maternal uncles, Shangwo Tsedak and Chophel, were sentenced to six and fours years of imprisonment respectively.

Lobsang Kelsang became monk at a very young age. In 2014, after completing his elementary studies, he joined the dialectical class. A native of Meuruma town in Ngaba County, he is born to Tsering Tenkho (father) and Lhakyi (mother). The couple has four children. Lobsang Kelsang is the second oldest child.

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