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Three Tibetans held for cellphone photos of China’s destruction of a major Buddha statue

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb03’22) – Police in the Tibetan region of what is now part of China’s Sichuan Province have arrested three Tibetan pilgrims for being in possession of “politically sensitive information”, referring to pictures of a prominent Buddha statue demolished by the authorities there recently, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Jan 2.

The report said Asang, Dodra, and Nortso – all from Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) City in Tibet Autonomous Region – were stopped and interrogated by police on Jan 10 while returning home from the famed Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Academy in Sichuan’s Serta (Seda) County and later arrested.

“Their cellphones were examined by police in Draggo (Luhuo) county in … Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and all three … were arrested for ‘possessing politically sensitive information and pictures’,” the report quoted a source with knowledge of the incident as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The report cited a second exile Tibetan with knowledge of the incident as saying the impugned cellphone contents were of the destruction carried out by the authorities since late last month of a three-storey statue of the Maitreya (the coming Buddha) at Gaden Namyal Ling monastery in Draggo.

The destruction of this and a landmark 99-foot-tall Buddha statue nearby, along with 45 giant prayer wheels, was carried out under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s renewed call for Sinicization of Tibet and its Buddhist region.

Chinese police were reported to have found that the trio had kept videos and pictures of the destruction of the Buddha statue and used them as their cellphone screensavers/ wallpapers.

The trio were said to have been handed over to the Chamdo City police for further investigation and action.

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