Less than a week after a Tibetan monk of Ngaba Kirti monastery died after setting himself ablaze on March 16 and a day before exile Tibetans went for polls to elect their Prime Minister and legislators, Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Ngaba province have launched “an unusually” heavy restriction on the Tibetans in Ngaba.
Sources in Tibet told contacts in exile that the Chinese government have issued directives to all the monasteries and leaders of Tibetan areas in the province to avoid any expression of festivity and joy including firing crackers, burning incense and hanging wind-horse prayer flags.
“An unusually heavy restriction is being imposed on us. I think they are anticipating expressions of support and welcome to the elections in exile on March 20,” a Tibetan resident of Ngaba told our source.
On Sunday, Chinese government officials from Sichuan Province and Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture visited Ngaba Kirti Monastery and issued orders that no monk would be allowed to leave the monastery premises without prior written approval from the in-house Chinese official, concerned teachers and disciplinarians.
The Chinese officials resumed the patriotic re-education campaign in the monastery making it mandatory for monks to attend the two daily sessions scheduled from 8AM to 12PM and 1PM to 6PM. However, the first day on March 21 witnessed a low turnout of monks for the session forcing the monastic administration to resort to door to door call for the monks. “I was told that some Chinese officials also went personally to monks’ quarters and forced monks to attend the session which could only start at 10AM that day,” the source said.
The head of the Ngaba Prefectural Religious Affairs Bureau spoke at the meeting accusing the administration of Ngaba Kirti Monastery and the individual monks of failing to comply with the law, and disrupting stability and unity. He accused both the monastery and individuals who prevented the Chinese police from taking Phuntsok, who set himself ablaze on March 16, of murdering the 20 year old monk.
The Chinese officials also rebuked the monks and the monastery administration of breeding a group of monks to commit self-immolation saying they will completely destroy it.
The officials who visited the monastery also included representatives from the Sichuan Province Political and Legal Committee and the Ngaba Prefecture’s United Work Front Department.
The Chinese authorities combed the monks’ living quarters and took names and details of the monks on March 22, and issued orders that they would be required to attend one session henceforth from 1PM to 6PM. The monks, however, were asked to remain in their living quarters until the session begins at 1PM.