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11 Tibetan monks get labour camp for letting out info about China’s demolition of a landmark Buddha statue

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb05’22) – After arresting and beating them severely, China has sent 11 Tibetan monks in Draggo (Luhuo) County, which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province, to labour camp for having spoken to outside contacts about its demolition late last year of a 99-foot-tall Buddha statue and 45 giant prayer wheels in their local area. The destructions were carried out under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new Sinicization of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism drive.

The Tibetan Service of rfa.org, which reported Feb 4 on this latest known development in the incident, named five of the Monks as Tashi Dorjee, Tsering Samdup, Nyima Lhamo, and Abbot Pelga, and Pelga’s assistant Nyima, adding that the identity of the remaining 6 could not be ascertained yet.

The demolition of this and a three-storey-tall Matreya Buddha statue nearby about the same time were stated to have been carried out under the supervision of the local communist party chief, with monks and other Tibetan residents being made to witness the incident.

China’s imposition of new restrictions in the already tightly controlled area means that getting information out of the place has become even more difficult.

“A police station has been set up near the Mani prayer wheel that was demolished earlier by the Chinese authorities in Draggo,” the report quoted an exile Tibetan with knowledge of the situation as saying. It is said to be manned by a few monks from the local monastery and a few other individuals to keep an eye on the daily activities of local Tibetans and the monks of Draggo Monastery.

Several other monks of this monastery are still in jail for taking part in a protest back in 2012. They are said to include one named Sonam Lhundup, sentenced for life in prison; Chakbe, sentenced to 12 years; Kunthok, sentenced to 13 years; Kundup, sentenced to 11 years; and Tashi Dhargay and Namgyal Dhondup, each sentenced to 14 years. Besides, two other unidentified Tibetans were stated to be serving sentences of unknown durations.

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