China arrest six monks in early morning raids in Jomda

Four monks of Wara Monastery in Thangpu Township, Jomda County (Ch: Jiangda xian) in Chamdo Prefecture, “Tibet Autonomous Region” (‘TAR’) were arrested last Saturday (15 May) under suspicion of leading and instigating protest at the county headquarters in Spring 2008 and two other official monks of the same monastery were arrested on Sunday for their failure to ‘educate’ the monks under ‘Patriotic education’ campaign, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

A total of six monks of Wara Monastery were arrested during early morning raids carried out by scores of Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials at the monks’ residence on Saturday and Sunday.

On 15 May (Saturday),Thinley, 25, and Nangsey, 27, were arrested from their room whereas Soegon, 26, was arrested for sounding alarm on the arrival of PSB into the monastery. Kelsang Gyurmey, 29, whom the PSB officials were looking for could not be traced in the monastery and was later arrested from his home. All the four monks were students of Buddhist philosophy at Wara Buddhist College that comes under Wara Monastery. The four monks are currently detained at Jomda County PSB Detention Centre.

On 16 May (Sunday) morning, the PSB officials came again to Wara Monastery and detained two senior monks: Sonam Gonpo a.k.a Soegon, 40, and Tagyal, 29. The duos were known to have been arrested for their failure to “educate” the monks of the monastery under “Patriotic education” campaign launched at the beginning of April 2008. There is no information on where the two monks are currently held.

On 3 April 2008, monks of Wara Monastery in Jomda County confronted and challenged the «work team» from carrying ‘patriotic education’ campaign by saying ‘even at the cost of our lives we will never defame and denounce our religious leader, the Dalai Lama». According to sources, many of the Wara Monastery’s monks were in the forefront during the 2008 protests in Jomda County when they were blocked by the People’s Armed Police (PAP) from advancing towards the main county market to proceed with their protest.

At the beginning of this year, a novice monk, Jamyang Palden, 14, was detained twice and released after undergoing torture to extract confession for his role in 2008 protest at Jomda. He was detained for more than a week on both occasions at the Jomda County PSB Detention Centre. Similarly, Gyaltsen, 16, was also detained under suspicion of distributing and pasting speech by the late Panchen Lama to Tibetans during the 2008 protest. He was released after a week of interrogation at the PSB detention centre.

TCHRD condemns in strongest terms over the arbitrary detention of Wara monks. The Centre calls upon the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the detained monks and guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of detained monks. The Chinese authorities should put an end to all acts of harassment against the monks so that they are able to carry out their religious studies without hindrances.

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