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At least nine monks jailed as terrorists for harmless explosion

www.TibetanReview.net October 3

At least four mostly teenage monks were sentenced on Sep 23 to jail terms of four to nine years in connection with a largely harmless series of small bomb blasts in Markham (Chinese: Mangkang) county of Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, during the Mar’08 Tibetan uprising, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA) Oct 2. Five other monks were also sentenced, although their terms remain unknown.

A county security official has told RFA that the sentences were light because “(t)hose … involved in the explosions were instigated from the outside. There were no casualties in the explosion, and damage to government property was minimal.” Those sentenced to 4-9-year jail terms, said to be from Maarkham’s Woeser Monastery or its affiliates, were charged with “obstructing the Olympics” and “damaging national stability”.

Three of the explosions had occurred at a Chinese military base camp, one at the Markham county office, three at an electric power transmission station, and one at the residence of a Tibetan who worships Shugden, a controversial deity espoused by Beijing but discouraged by the Dalai Lama.

The report cited local sources as saying Tenzin Tsangpa, 19, was given four years; Lobsang Gyatso, 19, five years, and Tenphel, 19, eight years. The identity of the fourth sentenced Woeser monk wasn’t immediately known. In addition, five monks from Phunlag Gonsar and Khenpa Lung monasteries in the county were also believed to have been given sentences in connection with the same alleged “terrorist” incidents, although their jail terms remain unknown.

A total of 22 Tibetans were detained in the county over 12 days from May 13, and only six were known to have been released so far, the report said. Those detained on May 24 from Gonsar monastery included Gonpo, 20; Choedrub, 25; Palden, 30; Ngawang Phuntsok, 17; and Kunga, 20. The three Woeser monks sentenced on Sep 23, along with other monks named as Riyang, 21, and Choegyal, 23, were also detained around that time. The monks arrested from Khenpa Lung were identified as Lobdra, 15; Namgyal, 18; Butrug, 13; Jamyang Lodroe, 15; Tsepag Namgyal, 15; Kalsang Tashi, 17; Jamdrub, 21; Wangchug, 22; Penpa Gyaltsen, 26; Pasang Tashi, 30; and Lhamo Tsang. Those detained also included two laypeople, identified as Dargye Garwatsang, 19, and Konchog Tenzin, 21.

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