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16 monks arrested for ‘separatist bomb attacks’

www.TibetanReview.net, June 6’08

Police in Tibet Autonomous Region have said Jun 5 they had arrested 16 Tibetan monks on May 12 and 13 and were hunting for three more for alleged involvement in what they called “three separatist bomb attacks and plots” in Mangkam county of Qamdo prefecture. Their alleged targets included key county establishments, including an electricity transformer, a fuel station and a police service spot, and residential homes. Police have claimed the monks had confessed to their crimes, saying they had been listening to foreign radio for a long time, were following separatist propaganda from the Dalai Lama and were inspired by the Mar 14 unrest in Lhasa.

According to the official Xinhua news agency Jun 5, the first case involved Chogyal and Tenphel and other three monks of Wese (Tibetan: Woeser) Monastery. They allegedly plotted to bomb key county establishments on Apr 3. It said that on Apr 5, Tenphel and the other three monks bombed a transformer in Gartog township using explosives, detonators and fuses provided by Chogyal. Local police arrested all five on May 13.

The second case reportedly occurred on Apr 7 and 8 and involved Tashi Tsering and three other monks. It said they intended to bomb a fuel station and a police service spot in Gartog but failed. Early next day, Tashi Tsering ignited the bomb while passing an armed police station. Police arrested him on May 12 and began looking for the other three monks, the report said.

The third case was reported to have occurred on Apr 15 and involved Tengpa Gyatso and Gyapa Dondrup. They were alleged to have incited four monks into bombing a local resident’s home. Police arrested the monks on May 12.

All alleged bombings appear to have been small, involving no death and injury, or damage to property. With information being tightly controlled and Tibet cut off from the outside world, there is no possibility for independent confirmation of the cases.

Besides, knowing China’s use of torture to extract confessions, Nicolas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times Jun 5, “We have no confidence that these people get due process, and in particular the issue of confession is always tricky, because of the use of pre-trial torture and coercion in China.” Regarding the judges in such cases, he has said, “They don’t pretend that they’re giving people a fair trial, they say they are fighting separatism.”

Earlier, Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington, DC) reported May 30 that the Chinese authorities had detained on May 24 five monks in Chamdo Prefecture in connection with a series of small bomb blasts during the Tibetan uprising in Mar-Apr 2008. Although there were no concrete evidences suggesting who might be involved in the four small explosions that occurred in the Markham area on Apr 6-7, and which caused no casualties, the authorities imagined them to be linked to their patriotic education at the Gonsar Monastery in Markham County and detained five of its monks. RFA named the monks as Gonpo (20), Choedrub (25) Palden (30) Ngawang Phuntsok (17) and Kunga (20). The Xinhua report made no mention of this case.

Earlier, on May 14, police took into custody several monks and two laymen belonging to Woeser and Khenlung monasteries, also in Markham, in connection with the same case. The Woeser monks were named as Tenphel (19), Riyang (21), Choegyal (23), Lobsang (19) and Tenzin Tsampa (19). Also taken into custody was the monastery’s manager, although he was later released. Those held from Khenlung have been named as Lobdra (15), Namgyal (18), Butruk (13), Jamyang Lodroe (15), Tsepak Namgyal (15), Kalsang Tashi (17), Jamdrub (21), Wangchuk (22), Penpa Gyaltsen (26), Pasang Tashi (30), and Lhamo Tsang. The two laypersons were named as Dargye Garwatsang (19) and Konchog Tenzin (21).

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