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Drango Monastery monk sentenced, another presumed dead

September 18, 2012

September 17, 2012 - Shonu, a monk and staff member of Drango Monastery whose whereabouts had remained unknown since his arrest in February 2012, is now reported to be in Mianyang Prison (Sichuan Province), a source with contacts in Tibet informed TCHRD.  According to the source, Shonu, 42, was sentenced in June 2012 to 18 months in prison for charges unknown at the moment. 

In February 2012, security officers detained Shonu and four other staff members of Drango Monastery at an Internet café in Tridu (Chinese: Chengdu) city, capital of Sichuan Province.  The whereabouts of the four monk officials: Tulku Lobsang Tenzin, a reincarnated lama; Geshe Tsewang Namgyal , a teacher and a staff; Thinlay, manager; and Tashi Topgyal aka Dralha, accountant, remain unknown to this day. 

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 to Tibet and began working at Drango Monastery. He was arrested soon after the 23 January 2012 protests in Drango (Chinese: Luhuo/Chaggo). 

The case of another ‘missing’ monk, Tsering Gyaltsen of Drango Monastery, has taken a curious turn.  In May 2012, less than four months after his arrest and subsequent ‘disappearance’, Tsering Gyatsen’s family and relatives held necessary rites and rituals to observe his ‘death’ after sustained efforts to know about his whereabouts failed, the same source told TCHRD. Although he is presumed dead by his family members, they have yet to receive his 'body'.  

On 9 February 2012, Tsering Gyaltsen, 40, was severely beaten and detained by Public Security Bureau personnel. He was born in Norpa village in Drango County. At a young age, he became a monk at Drango Monastery. 

An unspecified number of Tibetans had been detained or ‘disappeared’ soon after the 23 and 24 January 2012 protests in Drango, Sertha (Chinese: Seda) and Ngaba County.  The protests themselves were violently suppressed by security forces who fired upon unarmed Tibetan protesters in Drango, injuring over 36 and killing six known Tibetans.  

On 22 March 2012, Xinhua, the Chinese government-owned news agency reported the sentencing of seven Tibetans to 10 to 13 years imprisonment for their participation in the protest in Drango. On 26 April 2012, the Intermediate People's Court in Kardze (Chinese:Ganzi) Prefecture sentenced 16 Tibetans, including both monks and laymen, for their alleged involvement in the 23 January 2012 protest in Drango.

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