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Lhasa Under Tight Control as Beijing Olympic Draws Near

August 6, 2008

By Qiao Long
Radio Free Asia
August 4, 2008

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics approaches, Chinese security forces
continue to patrol Lhasa, Tibet, enveloping the city in a tense
atmosphere. Armed forces are guarding some major monasteries and
forbid monks in them to exit.

The Tibetan Government in  Exile reported on Sunday that the Naqoin
Monastery, which is attached to the Drepung Monastery, is currently
patrolled by armed security forces. Monks are locked inside, and
other Tibetans are not allowed to approach the monastery.

Kelsang, member of the Tibetan Government in Exile, said he was
deeply concerned with the safety of the monks as their living
conditions are unknown to the outside world.

A local Tibetan who refused to be identified confirmed this fact and
said that the Sera Monastery, which was open earlier, had also been
closed again for unspecified reasons. He said major intersections in
Lhasa are all patrolled by armed forces.

Phone calls to the Drepung Monastery were not answered.

Since the March 14 unrest in Tibet, the Chinese authorities have
required monks to attend so-called "patriotic education programs."
Many monks have since decided to leave the monasteries. According to
Kelsang, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently issued an order
requiring all monks return to the monasteries to "provide convenience
for tourists and to produce a harmonious environment in Tibet."

"Key monks such as khenpos and geshes have been required to call back
to the monastery all monks under their supervision," said Kelsang.
"If any monk under their charge marches on the street or engages in
any protest, the khenpos and gesher will be held directly accountable."

The order also said that Tibetan CCP members and those administrators
in charge of the respective monasteries will be subject to
punishments from light jail terms to expulsion from the CCP if they
fail to prevent monks under their charge from protesting.

Kelsang said the order also threatened to permanently close
monasteries and confiscate their assets if over 30 percent of their
monks protested.

Meanwhile, China's state-run newspaper Tibet Daily published an
article on July 26 sharply criticizing the Dalai Lama's intrigue,
designed to split Tibet from China.

Note: original Chinese article at Da Ji Yuan.
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