Kirti monastery

Kirti monks attending a prayer session on the morning of March 18, before Phuntsog’s body was carried to the sky burial site for cremation.

  • Kirti monks who fail to give‚ ‘right answers’ in patriotic education class detained
  • Fears for life of Tibetan prisoner’s daughter following interrogation
  • Disappearances continue in Ngaba
  • Some monks from group of more than 300 taken from monastery may have been returned home

A climate of fear continues in the Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) area in Sichuan province (the Tibetan area of Amdo) following the removal by troops of more than 300 monks from Kirti Monastery and the deaths of two elderly Tibetans trying to protect them (read more). An updated list of individual Tibetans detained following the March 16 self-immolation of Tibetan monk Phuntsog is available here. Some individuals named on the list have been released; those not listed as released are assumed to remain in detention, or information about their release is not available. Although it is standard practice to withhold information about those detained or imprisoned in the Chinese legal system, an information blackout in the area has made it difficult to obtain information about the status or condition of the Tibetans detained in Ngaba.

According to two monks from Kirti Monastery living in India, 39-year old Kirti monk Losang Khedrup, from Chukle Gabma in Ngaba county, Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, was arrested on May 6. The reason for his arrest and his place of detention are not known. On May 12, according to the same sources, Kirti monk Losang Choepel, age 19, of the Karma Tsang house in the Naktsangma pastoral division of Cha Township, Ngaba county, was detained from the monastery and taken into detention. His current whereabouts and the reason for his arrest are not known, although exiled monks have said his detention may have been due to answers he gave during ‘patriotic education’ sessions in the monastery.

ICT has learned from Tibetans from Ngaba now in exile that the wife and daughter of one detainee, 60-year old Gerik, were subject to intimidation and beatings after he was taken into custody. According to these sources, Gerik and nine other monks are being accused of involvement with the self-immolation of the monk Phuntsog, and he may have been subjected to serious torture while in detention. This is the third time that Gerik has been detained; he was detained on suspicion of distributing leaflets and held for a month in 1998, and again in 2008, under suspicion of speaking about the situation in Tibet.

Late at night on March 19, the day after Gerik’s detention, his 52-year old wife Donko was detained. She was held in custody for several days and severely beaten. His 23-year old daughter Metok was detained two days later on March 22 and beaten so severely that there were fears for her life, according to the same sources. She was allowed to go home, but not to hospital, and is still in serious condition. She is believed to have been psychologically affected by her ordeal. The same sources report that she was detained for questioning about her father. There are fears for other associates of Gerik whose whereabouts are not known, although further details are not available.

Although it could not be fully confirmed, a group of monks from Mintang and Khangsarma in Chigdril county, Golok (Chinese: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai (the Tibetan area of Amdo) may now have been sent back to their homes.

Two exiled Kirti monks now in India said: “These days, soldiers, police and special police forces, inside and out, armed with a variety of weapons, are maintaining their blockade of Kirti Monastery. They divide monks from the same dormitory into groups of 20, and hold so-called ‘Patriotic Religion’ reeducation meetings in the monks’ dormitory buildings. They ask lots of questions, and when the monks cannot give the answers that the officials want to hear on many issues, it seems that they are arresting them. One group including Losang Jinpa (‘Jinnak’) of Chukle Gabma and Losang Dorje was detained for 10 days and then released, while another group remains in detention. However, there are few details of individual cases available, as the channels through which they could be sent are under tight control.

“The names of monks not present at the monastery have been made public, with an announcement that they are not permitted to return. The doors of unoccupied cells have been sealed with notices reading ‘Not to be opened’ and the former occupants are not permitted to enter. The ongoing reeducation campaign was supposed to last for three months but it is repeatedly announced that unless the present behavior of the monks improves, this period will be lengthened.”

Clandestine footage on the situation in Ngaba, analysis, and BBC reporting.