Monk beaten to death in Karze for urging farming boycott


(, Apr 01, 2009) — A young Tibetan monk was beaten to death on Mar 25 by Chinese police in Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo) County of Sichuan Province after they saw him putting up posters calling on Tibetans to boycott cultivating their land or tending their fields as a mark of protest against China’s repression and killing of Tibetans. The Chinese were reported to have dropped his body to the base of a hill to improvise a suicide scene. “He was severely beaten by the Chinese security force and died at the scene. His body was tossed over a cliff in order to cover up the death,” Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington, DC) Mar 30 quoted a source as saying.

The report cited Konchog Norbu, a former resident of Draggo county now living in South India, as saying that when some Draggo monks and other recovered the monk’s body and took up the matter with the police, the latter refused to own responsibility, admitting only that they did pursue him. Senior monks dissuaded the Tibetans from staging a protest parade through town with the body of the monk.

The monk’s leaflet was reported to urge the Tibetans to forego tending their fields as a mark of respect, mourning “and to express our solidarity” with “our brothers and sisters who were tortured, injured, detained and killed in the last year’s peaceful demonstration” even “if we die of hunger and starvation”. The leaflet was reported to warn, “If anyone … still goes on to plant crops in fields and harvest them, I will come with a black scarf to greet them.”

Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Mar 30 that the monk, named as Phuntsok, 27, had put up his seven-page leaflet on a number of public places, including walls of a branch office of the Drango police headquarters, on the local Shara Thang-do Bridge and on eucalyptus trees lining the roads and highways in the county but was caught while doing so on the walls of an automobile service centre.

As police came to arrest him, the monk sped away on a motorbike but was caught when he could no longer climb up a hill. He was severely beaten on the spot and died shortly afterwards, the report said. The report cited eyewitnesses as saying the monk’s body bore bruises and cuts indicating that he was beaten to death.

On the other hand, Reuters Mar 30 cited local sources as saying the monk died and eight other people were hurt when Tibetan farmers clashed with Chinese soldiers. It named the monk as Panchou Lede of Hor Drago (Chinese: Shouling) monastery. The RFA report named the monk as Phuntsok Rabten.

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Meanwhile, on Mar 27, a squad of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police arrested 11 Tibetans from Dado Village for defying and order to start work on their farms. They were paraded through their village and later seen in a local hospital, surrounded by troops. Their current whereabouts remain unknown.

The report also said that a team of Chinese security forces arrived at Draggo Township on Mar 26 and 27, carrying sacks of fertilizers, and ordering the Tibetans to use them on their land.

The RFA report said others known to be arrested in connection with the farming boycott campaign included monks Olu and Thubten of Minyak monastery in Draggo, who were held on Mar 25, and Paga (son of Tseten Dolma), held on Mar 23. It said the men in six villages in Draggo had all “escaped into the hills”, after being severely beaten by police, to avoid detention.


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