(TibetanReview.net, Jan 16) – A total of 42 monks of Drepung Monastery in Tibet’s capital Lhasa have been sentenced so far for their involvement in the Tibetan uprising protests in Mar’08, said the exile Tibetan government on its official website Tibet.net Jan 14. It said their prison terms ranged from 2 to 15 years. It cited its sources as saying the names of the 42 monks were known, although their individual sentences remained to be confirmed, apart from that of one named Ngawang Choenyi of Lhasa who received 15 years.
It said some of the jailed monks were in severe ill health as a result of torture after their arrest. They included Ven Lobsang Wangchuk from Lhasa who became virtually blind and Ven Ngawang Dondham from Toelung county who was unable to hold a bowl in his hands.
It was not clear when the trials and the sentencing took place. Under Chinese law, sentences of re-education through labour for terms up to three years could be imposed by the relevant administrative authorities without recourse to court trials.
The report also said the patriotic education campaign at the monastery, which was already under severe repression for leading the Mar’08 Tibetan uprising, had been strengthened after a senior official of China’s United Front Work Department held a meeting with the work team that was already active there and the monastery’s government constituted Democratic Management Committee on Jan 8.
The report accused Executive Vice Minister of the Central United Front Work Department, Mr Zhu Weiqun, as lying when he had earlier spoken of the smooth running of religious activities at the monastery having been restored. It pointed out that the monastery had, in fact, remained shut down since Mar 10, 2008, with no possibility for normal functioning of religious studies and related activities.