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Ragya Monastery - Tibet encircled by Chinese Army, reeling under severe restriction

March 25, 2009

Tibet Custom
March 23, 2009

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) continues
to receive numerous reports from Tibet that Ragya Monastery is
reeling under unprecedented restriction and vigilance. Earlier, 93
monks and 2 lay Tibetans were arrested in connection with the
hoisting of a banned Tibetan National flag episode on top of Ragya Monastery.

New sources told TCHRD that there were "three principal pamphlets"
pasted and distributed in Ragya and Gartse villages, Machen County,
Golog "Tibet Autonomous Prefecture" ("TAP"), Qinghai Province. One of
the punch lines of pamphlets was that, "It is better to die for Tibet
and her people than being duped by the monetary rewards of the
Chinese government". (This year, the many parts of Tibet,
particularly in Kardze refused to celebrate the Tibetan New Year as a
mark of respect and mourning for those Tibetans killed and died in
the last year's brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters. In
response, the Chinese government encouraged Tibetans to celebrate the
Tibetan New Year with monetary rewards)

Furthermore, news information revealed that Tashi Sangpo who
committed suicide on 21 March 2009, was severely subjected to harsh
beatings, inhumane torture and long interrogation in a local
detention centre since his arrest on 10 March 2009. Sources told
TCHRD that continuing torture and interrogation finally took its toll
on Tashi Sangpo's mental state, which eventually forced him to take
his own life by drowning in Machu River. In addition, the detained
monks were currently said to be undergoing severe interrogation and
torture in detention centre.

In the late afternoon of 21 March 2009, few moments after the news of
Tashi Sangpo's suicide, Ragya monks stormed the local Public Security
Bureau (PSB) office. During the storming, the banned Tibetan National
flag previously pulled down from the roof top of Ragya Monastery by
the local PSB officers on 10 March 2001 was taken back and then
handed over to the younger brother of deceased Tashi Sangpo. Holding
the banned Tibetan National flag on his hand, Ragya monks and local
Tibetans then protested and shout slogans for few hours on streets
and the County government headquarter.

Thereafter, the highest ranking government official in Golog
Prefecture, head of Golog PSB personnel and People's Armed Police
(PAP) came to the protesting site. Unfazed by the intimidating
presence of PSB and PAP forces, the Tibetans continued to protest,
holding and waving the banned Tibetan National flag and shouted a
slogan "STOP MURDERING THE INNOCENT TIBETAN PEOPLE".

TCHRD learnt the deceased Tashi Sangpo was born in Gartse Village in
Kaba Sum-dho County, Tsolho "Tibet Autonomous Prefecture" ("TAP"),
Qinghai Province. His father's name was Dolma Kyap and mother's name
Phagdron. He was admitted to Du Kor House, Ragya Monastery in his
early years and and learnt the art of recitation, performing puja,
rites and ceremonial offerings. Later, he moved to She-rig Norling
House in Ragya Monastery to pursue his further vinaya teachings. This
year, in 2009 he completed his vinaya studies.

The situation in Ragya Monastery and its surrounding areas has been
very grim and volatile. A huge contingents of PSB and PAP security
forces have completely sealed off and encircled Ragya Monastery. The
telephone, mobile and postal services have been cut off, leaving
little room for the information to flow to the outside world.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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