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TCHRD PRESS RELEASE: China arrests 16 monks for defying "patriotic re-education"

May 16, 2008

China arrests 16 monks for defying "patriotic re-education"
Contact person: Tsering Agloe
Tel: +91 1892 223363 / 229225
Email: office@tchrd.org
May 15, 2008

China arrests 16 monks and 2 lay Tibetans in Markham County according
to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

For over a month the Chinese authorities have been conducting
"Patriotic re-education" campaign in Woeser Monastery and Khenpa
Lungpa Monastery in Garthog Township, Markham ( Ch: Mangkang) County,
Chamdo Prefecture, (Ch: Qamdo) "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR").

The Chinese authorities have been conducting intense "Patriotic
re-education" campaign in Woeser and Khenpa Lungpa Monasteries since
the beginning of April 2008. Sources told TCHRD that on 10 May 2008,
the Chinese "work team" entered the monasteries to conduct intense
and rigorous "Patriotic re-education" campaign which resulted in a
bitter and heated arguments between the annoyed monks and the Chinese
authorities. However, none of the monks signed off the official
documents and nor did they write essays denouncing the Dalai Lama.

In response to the monks' adamant refusal, the Chinese authorities
arrested them. On 12 May 2008, 10 monks of Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
were arrested. Similarly on 13 May 2008, 6 monks of Woeser Monastery
were also arrested. Two lay Tibetans were later arrested on 14 May 2008.

The "Patriotic re-education" campaign was introduced in 1996 in Tibet
to undermine Tibetan people's loyalty to the Dalai Lama. It was also
intended to win over the "hearts and minds of Tibetan people on the
side of the Chinese government. But on contrary it has earned
notoriety for its brazen attacks on the religious and cultural
sentiments of the Tibetan people.

The Woeser and Khenpa Monasteries each housed fewer than a hundred
monks on regular basis. In backdrop of the arrests of monks of Woeser
Monastery, the remaining monks left the monastery which brought much
sadness to the local Tibetan devotees who were unable to come to
terms with a sudden closure of sacred monasteries.

On the other hand, the Chinese authorities and "work team" were
conducting major "Patriotic re-education" campaign in Khenpa Lungpa Monastery.

Sources told TCHRD that few remaining monks left the monasteries and
returned to their respective homes in a solemn act of protest. On
usual days hundreds of devotees flock to the monasteries to offer
their prayers and carry out religious rituals. Unfortunately, these
days the devotees have none to turn to and a visible pall of silence
looms over the monasteries and its surrounding premises, in a
desolate and forlorn state.

The TCHRD expresses it serious concern about the well being of the
arrested Tibetans. The Centre urges the Chinese authorities to
immediately put an end to "Patriotic re-education" campaign and to
respect the cultural and religious sentiments of the Tibetan people
inside Tibet.

The identities of 18 Tibetan arrestees are:

1.  Ngawang Tenzin age 40, Woeser Monastery
2. Tenphel          age 19, Woeser Monastery
3. Rigyang         age 21, Woeser Monastery
4. Choegyal         age 23, Woeser Monastery
5. Lobsang Gyatso age 19, Woeser Monastery
6. Tsangpa         age 17, Woeser Monastery
7. Lodoe         age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
8. Namgyal         age 18, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
9. Butuk         age 13, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
10.  Jamyang Lodoe age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
11. Tsepak Namgyal age 15, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
12. Kalsang Tashi  age 17, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
13. Jandup          age 21, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
14. Wangchuk  age 22, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
15. Tenpa Gyaltsen      age 26, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
16. Passang Tashi age 3o, Khenpa Lungpa Monastery
17. Dhargye Garwatsang  age 19 (lay)
18. Kunchok Tenzin      age 21 (lay)

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