Two abbots and seven monks of Karma monastery in the Tibetan city of Chamdo were arrested late October 2011 for refusing to denounce Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in a release yesterday said that abbots, Lodoe Rabsel, 40 and Namsey Sonam, 44, along with seven other monks of the monastery were arrested after they refused to “cooperate” with the Chinese officials conducting patriotic reeducation campaigns at the monastery.
“The monks refused to denounce the Dalai Lama and consider Tibet as part of China as required in the patriotic re-education classes,” TCHRD said in its release.
Following the self-immolation of Tenzin Phuntsog, a former monk at the monastery and the reported bombing of an empty municipal office in the region, last year, monks at the monastery have been facing severe restriction.
Speaking to Phayul, the newly appointed director of TCHRD, Tsering Tsomo said most of the monks have either been arrested or have fled the monastery in order to avoid growing Chinese repression and surveillance.
“The monastery initially had over 300 monks but now not many are left,” said Tsomo. “For instance, the dialectic department in the monastery had to be shut down as all of its 120 students left the monastery”.
“Many monks fled to escape the repeated visits and questionings by security officials,” Tsomo added.
Although no casualties were reported in the October blast, local Chinese authorities directed their suspicions towards Karma monastery without any evidence.
The monastery was locked down and strict restrictions were placed on its monks, resulting in the arrest of 70 monks while over 40 monks escaped into the hills. Whereabouts of the detained monks still remain unknown.
“In addition to attending patriotic re-education classes, monks at Karma Monastery were questioned for long hours. The repeated questionings had deep psychological impacts on monks many of who chose to flee the monastery,” the release stated.
Following Tapey’s self-immolation in 2009, 17 Tibetans have burned themselves in Tibet, calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.