Sep 17, 2013

Tibet: China Sentences Three Monks To Prison

Three Tibetan monks who were detained last year have been sentenced to up to four years in prison by the Chinese authorities.

Below is an article published by The Tibet Post:

Three Tibetan monks detained last year from Wonpo Monastery have been sentenced to prison, with two monks receiving four years and another receiving three years in prison in Wonpo Village in Dzamey Township of Dzachukha area in Sershul, Karze County, Kham region of eastern Tibet.

According to the Dharamshala, India based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy (TCHRD), three monks from Wonpo Monastery, Wonpo Village in Dzamey Township of Dzachukha area in Sershul, Karze County, (Chinese: Shiqu, Ganzi, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province) eastern Tibet: Choedar, Sonam Gonpo and Sonam Choedar were sentenced to prison this month after being detained incommunicado since their arrests respectively in October and December 2012.

On 9 September 2013, Choedar, 47, was sentenced to one year in prison, less than a year after his detention in October 2012. Choedar was detained along with two other monks: Kyapey, 27, and Lobsang Mithrug, 25, both of whom have been released, but they have been deprived of political rights for three years.

Their release was granted after family and relatives of both monks provided guarantee letters pledging not to indulge in 'political activities'.

The three monks were among the many detained between 15 and 25 October 2012 in a crackdown launched by the Chinese authorities after local Tibetan pulled down a Chinese flag and threw leaflets calling for freedom on 7 September 2012. Choedar is currently being imprisoned at Ra-nga Prison in Minyak region in Kardze Prefecture.

On 11 September 2013, Sonam Gonpo, 22, and Sonam Choedar, 22, were sentenced to four years in prison after being detained on 15 December 2012 in Wonpo area. They were detained along with four other monks: Lobsang Khedup, 22, Lobsang Yigngey, 19, Lobsang Norbu, 20, and Tenzin Gedun, 24. The four monks have been released after being held for months in Rongdrag (Ch: Danba) County.

Wonpo area has been under intense surveillance and restrictions since 2008 uprising. Monks at Wonpo Monastery had steadfastly refused to hoist Chinese flags on their monastery and the ensuing crackdown had led to scores of arbitrary detention, arrest and unlawful searches of Tibetan homes by Chinese security personnel.

Exile Tibetan sources had reported a suicide protest by a woman named Tri Lhamo, who died after security officers launched arbitrary raids at homes trampling upon pictures of the Dalai Lama.

On 4 February 2012, local Tibetans pulled down a Chinese national flag from a government school building in Wonpo, one day after three self-immolation protests took place in the region. On 7 September 2012, local Tibetans pulled down a Chinese flag and hoisted a Tibetan flag on top of a school building in Dzachuka area. Leaflets calling for freedom were left scattered at the flag-raising site.