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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?"

Tibetan Monks Missing Since April Raid: TCHRD

September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dharamshala, September 29 - 5 monks are reportedly missing since the
raid by Chinese security officials on Ramoche Temple following protests
in the Tibetan capital Lhasa in March. The Tibetan Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said the whereabouts of Ramoche monastery’s
Chagzoed (manager and treasurer) Sonam Rabgyal and four other monks
could not be ascertained. The monks, say the Tibetan right group based
here, were arrested during a ‘midnight raid in monks' residence on 7
April 2008’.

Sonam Rabgyal, 39, a native of Markham County, Chamdo Prefecture, "Tibet
Autonomous Region" ('TAR'), Damdul, Rabgyal and two others of Ramoche
Temple located in Lhasa came under the suspicion of Chinese police for
engaging in pro-Dalai Lama activities. According to the TCHRD, the monks
held a long life offering prayer to the Dalai Lama and read aloud
requests for prayer offerings (Tib: Kyabtho) making direct reference to
the Dalai Lama's long life and quick resolution of the Tibet issue
during the annual Great Prayer Festival (Monlam Chenmo) on 14 February
this year.

According to sources, the "work team" under the "Patriotic Re-education"
Campaign stationed inside the temple knew about their action and
interrogated the monks for many days.

On 7 April 2008, around 70 monks of Ramoche Temple were detained after
the PSB and PAP forces carried out midnight raid in monks' residences.
Although most were released after days of interrogation the whereabouts
and conditions of the five- monks still are not known, TCHRD said.

Sources have told TCHRD that religious artifacts made of gold and silver
had disappeared after the raid. “Severe restrictions still continue to
be put on the movement of the monks of major monasteries since protests
broke out in March.”

Even today China has the major monasteries around Lhasa virtually sealed
off though officially declaring them reopened to tourism and pilgrimage.

Ramoche Temple housed 115 monks, a mandatory limit set by the Chinese
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