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Monks Flee Monastery

November 3, 2011

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/chamdo-10302011152550.html

2011-10-30

Chinese authorities clam down on a renowned Tibetan monastery
following a bomb blast.

AFP

Tibetan monks at a monastery in Shanba township in China's Sichuan
province, Oct. 19, 2011.

Chinese authorities have banned religious activities and harassed
monks at an ancient monastery in Tibet's Chamdo prefecture following a
bomb explosion at a government building there last week, sources said
Sunday.

Most of the monks at the monastery in Dzagyu Karma township where the
blast occurred have fled the institution, saying they cannot bear the
pressure piled on them by Chinese security forces.

The stepped-up security came amid rising Tibetan protests, including
10 self-immolations this year, against Chinese rule in
Tibetan-populated areas.

Tibetans in Dzagyu Karma particularly are angry at a government
program to resettle Han Chinese in their area and have warned of
violence if it is not stopped.

Since Wednesday's blast, Chinese security forces and government
officials have zeroed in on the Karma monastery, located on the
eastern bank of the Dzachu River in Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu)
prefecture and founded in the 12th century.

They suspect that monks in the institution are linked to the blast,
which badly damaged the building but left no casualties as it occurred
at night after office hours.

"Chinese police, armed public security, and government officials have
been coming to Karma monastery every day," one resident said in an
email to RFA. "They conducted meetings, issued threats, and blocked
all traffic in the area."

"They took each monk's photo and fingerprints and also collected blood
samples from each monk. They also forced each monk to give three
writing samples."

Security officials have also ordered another meeting with the monks on Sunday.

"In this way, the monks of Karma monastery are being subjected to
extreme harassment and threats," the resident said. "Most monks have
left the monastery to evade restrictions and harassment. Now only
three elders monks are left behind in the monastery."

Foreigners banned

Other sources, including a travel agent, a hotel, and a television
station in Chamdo, effectively confirmed the resident's account of the
post-blast situation in Dzagyu Karma.

The travel agent said foreigners have been banned from entering the
Chamdo area while all Chinese nationals have to produce residential
permits and other identification documents as part of new security
measures.

According to the resident, the Chinese security forces launched their
clampdown of the monastery and took other security measures after
finding posters and leaflets calling for Tibetan independence at the
building after the bomb explosion.

The anti-Chinese paraphernalia could also highlight Tibetan anger over
the arrival of Han Chinese into the area for employment, the resident
said.

"Leaflets were thrown in the area and writings were seen on the
building walls and other street walls calling for independence of
Tibet and freedom for Tibetans."

The resident said the Chinese government recently launched
construction projects in rural areas, known as as "Centers for
Communist Party Projects,” aimed at resettling more Chinese in the
countryside.

"The same construction [projects] are also going on in the Karma area."

Officially, the resident said, the Chinese settlers are meant to help
oversee the welfare of the Tibetans in the rural areas.

Among the writings on the walls, one said, "‘Anyone who settles in the
rural area should speak Tibetan. Otherwise, we will not accept them."

"If this policy of settling Chinese in Tibetan rural areas is not
stopped, we will protest and may be forced to resort to violence."

Reported by RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written
in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai and Rachel Vandenbrink

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