With almost a week since tension started brewing in Tibet’s Ngaba county amid heavy reinforcement of troops into the Kirti monastery last Tuesday the Chinese authorities in the county have subjected the monks to rigorous sessions of “Patriotic Reeducation Campaign” on Saturday, a Tibetan source with contacts in the region told phayul.
The gathering was attended among others by head of the Ngaba Prefecture United Front Work Department, a Chinese government body that is entrusted with the job to liaison with overseas Chinese.
The source said at least 800 government officials from Ngaba County and Zoege County took part in the sessions that lasted for several hours on Saturday. Unlike the usual sessions, each monk was forced to stand in front of the gathering and speak as authorities asked questions during the “Patriotic Reeducation” sessions.
According to the source, the UFWD head said the monks did not give satisfactory responses to questions posed to them during the sessions, adding that it might prolong the stay of the Chinese Work Team officials in the monastery.
The UFWD head accused the monks of hindering the social stability of Ngaba region since the protests in 2008 and vowed stringent actions against those responsible for causing “inconvenience” to the residents of Ngaba, the source said.
Monks are barred from leaving their quarters after 8PM turning the monastery virtually into “a jail filled with monks”, according to the source. The in-house dispensary of the monastery, which provides medical facilities to the monks, has also been shut down.
The authorities have completed the construction of boundary walls around the monastery making it a lot easier for them to control the monks who now can exit the monastery only from the 3 main gates which are constantly guarded by armed soldiers and police, the source added. Soldiers and police randomly enter monks’ quarters and ransack them. At least a hundred monks have gone missing or are unaccounted for in Ngaba County since March 16, 2011, according to figures released by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The situation around Kirti Monastery, one of the most prominent monasteries in Ngaba region, has remained tense following the death of a Tibetan monk Phuntsok, who set himself ablaze in protest on March 16 – marking 3 years since Chinese armed forces cracked down heavily on Tibetan protesters in the region in 2008.
Meanwhile, the students of the Ngaba Prefecture Upper Middle School who sat on hunger strike from March 17 in protest against the Chinese government following Phuntsok’s death are still locked up in the school, the same source said.
While urging the monks and Tibetans to be peaceful, the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, Kirti Rinpoche, the patron of Kirti monasteries and the Tibetan government in exile have called for restraint in dealing with the tense situation in Ngaba Kirti monastery.