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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

More than a thousand monks and many civilians have disappeared since the March crackdown

September 28, 2008

Nirmala Carvalho

Whether they were arrested in March or simply disappeared thereafter,
their relatives and friends are in the dark as to their whereabouts or
even if they are still alive. An appeal is made to foreign governments,
international agencies and the United Nations not to forget them.

New Delhi 9/26/2008 (AsiaNews) – More than a thousand Tibetan monks have
vanished in the hands of Chinese police since last March crackdown, the
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported. The fate
of a handful is known but the whereabouts of all others remains a mystery.

Some 80 monks from Drepung Monastery, which is located on the outskirt
of Lhasa and played a key role in the protests, have disappeared since

The Chinese-installed government of Tibet especially targeted monks
visiting from other regions like Amdo and Kham, which are outside
China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Lobsang, a monk from Lhatse County (Shigatse Prefecture), was among
those detained in Drepung. He vanished in March and no one knows his
current whereabouts.

On 7 April monks Thabkhey and Tsundue from  Labrang Monastery approached
foreign journalists in Sangchu County (or Xiahe Xian) in Gansu Province.
The latter had been brought in from Beijing to see that all was well and
back to normal. The monks instead told them a different story and for
their pains they too vanished. Police told their relatives that they had
not been arrested and had no information about them.

The TCHRD has also reported the disappearance of students and ordinary
citizens, like Migmar Dhondup, a school graduate (1995) from Dingri
County (Shigatse), who worked in Lhasa as a tourist guide. He too
disappeared in March without leaving a trace.

A little is know of what happened to some in arbitrary detention. Guru,
a 25-year-old nun from Samtenling Nunnery, also known as Watak Nunnery,
in Drango County (Sichuan), disappeared after taking part in local
protests in June. She was reported dead when two other nuns, Tsering Tso
and Ugyen Lhamo, were tried and sentenced to two years in prison.

In light of this situation the TCHRD has expressed “its deepest concern
over the fate of those Tibetans who were arbitrarily detained and who
disappeared since the March protest in Tibet.”

The centre has called on the international community and the UN Working
Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID) to press the
government of the People's Republic of China to provide information
about those who disappeared and to stop this cruel practice meant to
silence Tibetan dissidents and their families.

The Tibet question enflamed the Olympic torch relay in April and May,
when tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London, Paris,
San Francisco and elsewhere in protest against China’s crackdown.
However, that controversy now seems all but forgotten even though
Tibetan monks and protesters still languish in jail.
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