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Tibetan monks detained over prayers for Dalai Lama

April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Chinese police have detained a religious teacher and fellow monks in the Chamdo prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region after accusing them of sponsoring special prayers for exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, according to Tibetan sources.

Lobsang Tenzin, a lama of the Pashoe monastery in Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) prefecture’s Pashoe (Basu) county, was taken into custody along with “six or seven” other monks at the end of March, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service at the weekend.

“A team of Pashoe county police suddenly arrived at the monastery and took them away,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chinese authorities alleged that the detained monks had sent contributions to a fund for a long-life offering ceremony for the Dalai Lama conducted in India on March 16, the source said.

“They were also accused of conducting special prayers in Pashoe monastery on March 16 for the long life of the Dalai Lama at which Lama Lobsang Tenzin presided,” the source said.

Additionally, Tenzin and his fellow monks were accused of sending offerings to India to celebrate the candidacy of a senior teacher in exile, Kyabje Kundeling Taktsak Rinpoche, for an advanced monastic degree on the occasion of his final exams, he said.

A police search of Tenzin’s rooms at the monastery turned up “photos of the Dalai Lama, audio recordings, and several receipts” for the contributions that were made, he added.

Communications restricted

A second source in Tibet confirmed that Tenzin had been taken into custody, adding, “It happened about a month back.”

“We still don’t know where he is being held,” the source said.

Communication links to and from the Pashoe area are now tightly controlled, a third Tibetan source said, speaking from exile in Europe.

“However, I have learned that Lama Lobsang Tenzin and a group of monks were detained and taken away.”

“One monk was released, but no information is available on the present condition or location of the others who are being held,” he said.

Others detained

Tenzin’s detention followed the March 4 detention of another senior Pashoe-area monk, Lobsang Choejor, who was accused of having shared politically sensitive information with others from his mobile phone.

Meanwhile, a monk seized by police on Feb. 28 on suspicion of possessing politically sensitive writings and video recordings died on March 1 after being severely beaten in custody, according to a Tibetan source.

Tashi Paljor, 34, a monk at Chamdo’s Wenpo monastery, died en route to a hospital after authorities returned him to his family the day after he was detained, the source said.

Tibetans have held sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 131 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

Reported by Soepa Gyatso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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