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No reason cited as China detained 7 Tibetan monks

Map of Tibet. (Photo courtesy: FreeTibet)
A map showing Sog county in Nagchu prefecture in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: freetibet.org)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar19, 2015) – Chinese authorities in Sog (Chinese: Suo) County of Nagchu (Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, had detained on Mar 14 seven Tibetan Buddhist monks of the local Tsenden Monastery and launched a security clampdown on the monastery, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) and others Mar 17. No reason was given for the monks’ detention but the authorities were said to suspect them of having sent to out contacts information, including pictures, which they considered anti-China.

Citing an exile Tibetan with contact in the region, the reports named the seven monks as Namgyal Tsultrim, Lodoe Tenzin, Tsultrim Gongji, Tsultrim Namgyal, Thabkey Lhundup, Jigme Tsultrim, and Jigme Drakpa. Of them, Namgyal Tsultrim was said to have been previously detained two times. The first was for seven days in 2011 when the authorities suspected him of maintaining contacts with people outside the region.

He was again taken into custody on Oct 6, 2012 and held at the Nagchu detention centre for five months and later transferred to Tuelung prison where he was held for another three months. It was not clear whether he was charged and sentenced at that time.

It was also not clear whether the remaining six monks had any past detention records.

The detention of the seven monks, whose whereabouts remained unknown, was reported to have been accompanied by new security clampdown on the monastery. This included the installation of some 50 CCTV cameras to monitor the movement of the monks, including even during visits to the washroom in the night. Besides, the rule against allowing those below 18 years of age from becoming monks began to be strictly enforced.

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