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Twelve Known Tibetans Missing After Drango Crackdown

March 27, 2012

More information has surfaced regarding the identities of 12 known Tibetans who disappeared after their arrests by Chinese security officers in the nomadic region of Drango (Chinese: Luhuo) County in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

The 9 February 2012 crackdown in Drango County ended in the death of two Tibetan brothers who were shot dead in their own house by security officers and the arrest and disappearance of seven known Tibetans including a monk and lay Tibetans. The arrests occurred in the wee hours of 9 February, at around 1 am (Tibet Time), according to sources.

The brothers, Yeshi Rigsel (aged 40) and Yeshi Samdrup (aged 42), were shot dead at their winter home in the nomadic region of Drango. Another brother, Yonten Sangpo, was seriously injured after a bullet hit his neck. Despite the injury, he was taken to the county office of Public Security Bureau (PSB) where he was subjected to severe beatings. Sources said he was briefly seen coughing up blood after the beatings.

Three of the five minor children injured in the shooting melee were daughters of Yonten Sangpo. The other two were adopted daughters of the family. The family’s pet, a Tibetan Mastiff, died in the shooting.

Garab Nyima (aged 71), father of the deceased brothers, escaped unhurt as he was not present at the time of the shooting. However, he is now in a hospital after suffering a heart attack. TCHRD reported earlier that Garab Nyima’s wife, Sanglha (aged 70) had to amputate her left arm after getting injured in the shooting.

Namdol, wife of deceased Yeshi Samdup, and her four minor children escaped the shooting by hiding in a corner of the house. Sources said security officers made forced entry into the house by breaking the door.  They searched the house, yanking up mattresses, and taking away Chinese Yuan 6200 and a Buddha statue. Security officers also set on fire a motorcycle owned by the family.

Yeshi Rigsel was born in 1972 in Norpa village of Drango County. He became a monk at Drango Monastery at a young age. In 1996, he spent seven years studying Tibetan Buddhism at Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India. On his return, he began working at Drango Monastery. On the first day of Chinese New Year on 23 January 2012, he joined the protest march of local monks and lay Tibetans and got one of his hands injured in the shooting. On 9 February, he was shot dead at his home by security officers.

Yeshi Samdup was born in 1970 in Norpa village. He attended primary school for six years and was a nomad by profession. On 9 February, he was shot dead by security officers at his home.

On the same day, Tsering Gyaltsen (aged 40), a monk at Drango Monastery was severely beaten by the security officers before his arrest.

On an unknown date in February 2012, some high-ranking monastic officials of Drango Monastery were arrested at an Internet café in Tridu (Chinese: Chengdu) city. Their condition and whereabouts remain unknown.

Brief Profiles of ‘Missing’ Tibetans:

1. Tulku Losang Tenzin (aged about 40) was born in Pemegang village. He was recognized as a reincarnated lama at Gochen Monastery. He initiated and oversaw numerous projects for the renovation and expansion of the monastery.  He was arrested in February 2012 in Tridu city.

2. Geshe Tsewang Namgyal was born in 1970 in Chuwar village in Drango County. He attended the local primary school and was proficient in both Tibetan and Chinese language. In 1987, he joined Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India to study Buddhism, English, Hindi and Tibetan. In 1994, he continued his education at Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in north India graduating with a Master’s degree in the Rimey tradition.  In 2011, he returned to Tibet and joined as a teacher at Drango Monastery. He was arrested in Tridu city.

 3. Shonu was born in 1969 in Garwa village in Drango County. In 1987, he joined Drepung Loseling Monastery in south India to study Buddhism. He returned and began working at Drango Monastery. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango.

4. Thinlay (aged 42) was born in Bathag village in Drango. He attended primary school before becoming a monk at Drango Monastery. A few years before, he was appointed the manager at the monastery. He was arrested in Tridu city.

5. Tashi Topgyal aka Dralha (aged 31) was born in Gonsar village in Drango. He attended primary and middle school in the county. In 2000, he became a monk at Drango Monastery. He was a student at the monastery for five years before becoming the monastery’s accountant.

6. Tsering Gyaltsen (aged about 40) was born in Norpa village in Drango. At a young age, he became a monk at Drango Monastery. On 9 February 2012, he was severely beaten and arrested by PSB officers. His current status remains unknown.

7. Yonten Sangpo (aged 32) was born in the nomadic village of Norpa in Drango County. He attended primary school before joining his family occupation as a nomad. On 9 February 2012, he was shot in his neck and was taken to local PSB office where he was subjected to severe beatings. His two brothers died and his mother lost her arm in the shooting.

8. Gyaltsen (aged 32), a farmer, was born in Yunyiwa village in Drango County. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango County.

9. Khyendor (aged 23), a nomad, was born in Norpa village in Drango County. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango County.

10. Shergyam was born in 1959 in Norpa village. He was a nomad and a leader of the local nomad community. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango County.

11. Gyalkyap was born in 1985 in Norpa village. He attended the local primary school and later earned his living as a nomad. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango County.

12. Peldor, born in 1977, was a nomad in Norpa village. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango County.

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