The tension between local Tibetans and Chinese security forces deployed at the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba County in Tibet’s Amdo Province Tuesday rose to new heights as China deployed additional armed security forces in the area, a Tibetan right group has said.
“High tension has prevailed between local Tibetans and Chinese security forces at the Kirti Monastery which might prompt Chinese security forces to open fire,” the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Tuesday.
According to the Centre, the tension in the area rose as local Tibetans gathered around the monastery after seeing large contingent of additional Chinese security forces arrive at the Kirti Monastery around 12 pm (Beijing Time) on Tuesday.
“Upon seeing the vehicles local Tibetans rushed towards the monastery to protect the monks,” the centre said, citing reliable sources in the area.
According to different sources, the Chinese authorities have earlier announced that the monks from the monastery aged between 18 and 40 would be relocated on April 12 to another location for “legal education” and “patriotic re-education”.
The situation around Kirti Monastery, one of the most prominent monasteries in Ngaba region, has remained extremely tense following the death of a Tibetan monk Phuntsok, who set himself ablaze in protest on March 16 – marking 3 years since the bloody crackdown on Tibetan protesters against Chinese rule in the region in 2008. Phuntsok died the following day.
Following the incident, China stepped up security in the region and its security forces cordoned off the Kirti Monastery, putting some 2500 monks of the monastery at risk of starvation, TCHRD had said earlier on Monday.
“The locals suspected that the police vehicles have arrived at the monastery to transport the monks. They blocked the forces from entering the monastery which broke into heated tension between the locals and armed police,” the centre said of the situation in the area on Tuesday.
TCHRD, however, did not specify how many people actually stood in standoff with Chinese security forces. Sources here having contacts in the region say as many as 2000 to 3000 people gathered around the Kirti Monastery.
The police started to brutally beat some of the Tibetans and let lose police dogs upon the crowd, TCHRD said.
The centre further said the monks of the monastery held inside the monastic compound were barred from going out.
To avoid further escalation of tension, senior monks in the monastery management came out to diffuse the situation by persuading the crowd to maintain calm, the centre said.
“Although tension has been temporarily defused, additional Tibetans arrived to join the crowd. The local Tibetans have now blocked all the roads leading out of Ngaba County and maintain vigil,” the Tibetan rights group said.
According to the centre, 33 known Tibetans have been arbitrarily arrested so far as a result of the escalating tension in the area.
The centre on Tuesday said it was concerned about worsening situation in the region and urged the international community to use its influence to end repressive measures by Chinese authorities.
Meanwhile, Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) based here has said it would hold worldwide candle light vigils and prayers later this evening in solidarity with the monks and local people of Amdo Ngaba.
The organisation has said the solidarity campaigns would be spearheaded by its 57 regional chapters around the world.
“The grave concern now is starvation of 2500 monks who are directly affected by the crackdown,” the organisation said in a press release today.