(Left to Right) Losang Gyatso, sentenced to three years in prison on November 7 for his solo protest.
Losang Tenpa (photo taken before his protest).
Losang Tenpa’s protest in Ngaba, carrying a picture of the Dalai Lama; he was sentenced to two years in prison.

  • Two young Kirti monks from Ngaba, eastern Tibet, have been sentenced to three and two years in prison for solo peaceful protests, according to monks in exile. Both were severely tortured on detention. Both monks demonstrated on the main street of the county town of Ngaba near the monastery, known among Tibetans as ‘Heroes (or Martyrs) Road’ because it has been the site of a number of self-immolations and protests.
  • On November 7 (2014), Kirti monk Losang Tenpa, 19, was sentenced to two years imprisonment following his peaceful protest on April 26. Another Kirti monk, 20-year old Losang Gyatso, was sentenced to three years following a similar solo protest in April in which he called for freedom and for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet.

An image of Losang Tenpa, sentenced to two years in prison last week, has reached Tibetans in exile, showing the young monk walking along the road in Ngaba on April 26 bearing a large picture of the Dalai Lama. Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala, India, said he wore a hand-drawn Tibetan national flag and called for freedom in Tibet, and that the Dalai Lama must be allowed to return. According to the same sources, Losang Tenpa’s family members were called to attend the hearing on November 7 at the Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate Peoples Court but were given no opportunity to engage a lawyer on his behalf.

Losang Tenpa comes from Meuruma township, in Ngaba, and joined Kirti monastery at a young age. He has two older half brothers who are both monks.

On the same day that Losang Tenpa was sentenced, on November 7, another monk from Meuruma township in Ngaba, 20-year old Losang Gyatso, was sentenced to three years in prison for his solo protest earlier in April. Losang Gyatso had staged a similar protest on the main road of Ngaba county on April 2, carrying a hand-drawn Tibetan national flag, and shouting “Freedom for Tibet! The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet, “according to Kirti monks in Dharamsala. He was not detained at the time, and managed to return to the monastery, but was arrested there by police on April 15. His family members were informed of the trial but were likewise given no opportunity to engage a lawyer on his behalf. Losang Gyatso also joined Kirti monastery at a young age.

The wave of self-immolations in Tibet began in February, 2009, when a monk from Kirti monastery, Tapey, set himself on fire in the main road near the monastery in the county town of Ngaba, where the solo protests occurred. The self-immolation of a second Kirti monk, Phuntsog, in March, 2011, was followed by a number of other self-immolations by Kirti monks and laypeople in Ngaba, and other areas of Tibet.[1] Two months before Losang Tenpa and Losang Gyatso’s protests, on February 14, a former Kirti monk called Lobsang Dorje, 25, died after setting himself on fire in the same location.

[1] For context on the wave of self-immolations in Ngaba and beyond, see ICT report, ‘Storm in the Grasslands: Self-Immolations in Tibet and Chinese Policy’