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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 Monk Demands Probe

June 29, 2008

Radio Free Asia
June 26, 2008

HONG KONG -- A Tibetan monk in China's remote Qinghai province has
petitioned authorities to investigate the disappearance of a large
sum of cash from his monastery quarters, saying he believes police
officers who searched his room are responsible.

In an unusual petition to county prosecutors, Choyang Gyatso wrote
that 23,000 yuan vanished from his quarters at Rongwo monastery
between April 17 and April 19, for which he blames 20 police who
searched the premises after they detained him.

He also threatened to sue the government unless authorities investigate.

The letter, dated May 13, informs the Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren)
People's Procuratorate that on the afternoon of Choyang Gyatso's
detention, police "searched my room in the monastery, and took 23,000 yuan."

"After I was released on the morning of April 19, I found the cloth
bag was on my bed in my room, but the ceremonial scarf and the money
had vanished." -- Choyang Gyatso

"The money includes donations by the devotees and the families of my
fellow monks including Tenzin Lekshek, Yonten Yarphel, and Lodro
Tenpa from Gendun Tengyal monastery. Yeshe from Jiantsa and Khedrup
from Dro Rongwo can testify that I had the money in my room," he said.

Demand to investigate

"Those who searched my room included 15 special policemen and five
armed policemen." The cash was wrapped in a yellow ceremonial scarf
and placed in a red cloth bag," he wrote.

"After I was released on the morning of April 19, I found the cloth
bag was on my bed in my room, but the ceremonial scarf and the money
had vanished," Choyang Gyatso wrote.

"I think this is directly related to those people who searched my
room, and they should be held directly responsible for the incident."

"Therefore, hereby I would like to request that the People's
Procuratorate quickly investigate the incident, and demand that those
who stole my money from my room return it immediately. If your
esteemed working unit does not investigate the incident, I will sue
and find out all the illegal actions of those involved in this
incident, at any cost."

No comment available

Several phone calls during working hours rang unanswered at the
Rongwo monastery and at the Tongren county Public Security Bureau.

The Beijing-based Tibetan writer Woeser said she had received a copy
of the letter, which bears the fingerprints of Choyang Gyatso and
several witnesses.

"On April 17, many of the monks from Rongwo monastery, along with
many lay people, were detained, including Choyang Gyatso," Woeser said.

"Part of the 23,000 yuan in question had been given to him by his
family, and some came from donations and payments for prayer
sessions.  He had saved the money to be used on the monastery."

Numerous monks and lay people were detained around April 17 in and
around Rongwo monastery, Woeser said.

That was a little more than a month after the worst protests in
almost 50 years erupted against Chinese rule in the Tibet Autonomous
Region (TAR) and neighboring Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

Similar allegations

Allegations similar to those in the petition have emerged in other
Tibetan areas as well.

On April 18, 23 trucks filled with 30-50 troops each from the Lanzhou
Northwestern Military Command reportedly raided Tsendrok monastery in
Amdo Maima, Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county, in Gansu province,
saying they were searching for weapons.

They found some rifles stored at the monastery by nomads, and they
removed a large golden Buddha statue, along with a number of
religious relics, Tibetan witnesses said.

"The gross value of all the sacred religious objects taken from the
monastery is estimated at more than 105 million yuan," one Tibetan
source said. Monks complained and officials said they were
investigating, she said.

Original reporting in Mandarin by Gao Shan, and in the Amdo dialect
of Tibetan by Palden Gyal  and Chakmo Tso. Mandarin service director:
Jennifer Chou. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translated and
written for the Web in English by Sarah Jackson-Han and Jennifer
Chou. Edited by Luisetta Mudie and Karma Dorjee.
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