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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

12 monks of Dingri Shelkar Choedhe Monastery Arrested for Opposing the "Patriotic re-education" Campaign

June 1, 2008

(May 31, 2008

The Chinese security forces arrested twelve monks of Dingri Shelkar
Choedhe Monastery during a night raid for opposing the "patriotic
re-education" campaign on 19 May 2008, according to confirmed
information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (TCHRD).

The Chinese authorities re-launch and reinvigorate the "Patriotic
re-education" campaign in the "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR") and
other Tibetan areas in neighboring provinces for a stipulated
two-month period covering almost every sections of society beginning
primarily with the monastic institutions, party cadres, security
forces and government employees, farmers and private entrepreneurs,
educational institutions and common people, to denounce the Dalai
Lama and the "Splittist forces".

During one of those campaigns re-launched since 1 April 2008, the
Chinese "work team" visited Shelkar Choedhe Monastery in Tingri
County (Ch: Dingri Xian), Shigatse Prefecture, "Tibet Autonomous
Prefecture" ('TAR') on 19 May 2008, to conduct the "Patriotic
re-education" campaign which resulted in a bitter and heated argument
between the monks and the Chinese "work team". According to the
source, Ven. Khenrab Tharchin, a member of so-called Democratic
Management Committee (DMC) of Shelkar Choedhe Monastery stood up
while the campaign was in session by openly opposing the "patriotic
re-education" and even told the visiting "work team" that he cannot
denounce the Dalai Lama as required under the campaign. Another
eleven monks of the same monastery stood up in support of Ven.
Khenrab Tharchin and adamantly opposed the campaign in unison.
According to source, after the incident, entry to the monastery was
closed for faithful devotees and visitors. Monks were ordered from
leaving their monastery compound and even cell phones were known to
have been confiscated to curb the report of the incident from leaking
to the outside world and the monks were even known to have been
threaten with dire consequences if found 'leaking' the information to
the outside world.

In order to avoid the public glare, on the same night, scores of
Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) forces and Public Security Bureau
(PSB) officials stormed into the monastery and forcibly taken away
the twelve protesting monks from their residences to unknown
location. There is no information on the current whereabouts and the
condition of arrested monks. The identities and origins of the those
arrested monks were as follow:

1 Ven. Khenrab Tharchin, 32 years old, Drushe Village, Shelkar Township,
2. Ven. Tsewang Tenzin, Phelbar Village, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
3. Ven Tenzin Gayphel, Lingshar Village, Gaymar Townsip, Dingri County
4. Ven, Khenrab Tashi, Mashak Village, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
5. Ven. Topgyal, Drushe  Village, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
6. Ven. Tenzin Tsering, Bichu Village, Gyatso Township, Dingri County
7. Ven. Lobsang Jigme, Norgay nomadic area,  Shelkar Township, Dingri County
8. Ven. Khenrab Nyima, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
9. Ven. Dhondup, Che Village, Tsakhor Township, Dingri County
10. Ven. Tenpa, Lolo Langga, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
11. Ven. Samten, Shollingshar, Shelkar Township, Dingri County
12. Ven. Choedhen, Shollingshar, Shelkar Township, Dingri County

According to source, few days after their arrest, the family members
of the monks went to enquire the local PSB officers about the exact
place of their detention and requested authorities for visitation.
Instead of listening to their request, the family members and
relatives of those arrested monks were intimidated with stern warning
for damaging the image of the government 'and questioned their source
of information about monks' detention.

The stipulated two-months' renewed "Patriotic re-education" campaign
launched at the beginning of April following unprecedented protests
across Tibetan plateau since 10 March, not only permeates the
monastic institutions but also government employees, security forces,
farmers, nomads, private entrepreneurs and educational institutions.
The principle and underlying message of the campaign is to
"vehemently oppose the Dalai 'clique'" and "to expose the true nature
of 'Dalai clique'" and "March 14 riot". Under the supervision of the
Communist Party leaders, new committees were formally formed to
formulate and execute the campaign across all sections of the society
within two months stipulated time period. In the subsequent period,
numerous cases of Tibetans having arrested or detained for openly
opposing and defying the campaign were reported from numerous places
especially from monastic institutions.

China's Constitution, adopted on December 4, 1982, specifically
provides, in "Chapter II- the Fundamental Rights and Duties of
Citizens" – Article 36 states,  "Citizens of the People's Republic of
China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public
organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not
to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against
citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The
state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of
religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair
the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of
the state. Religious bodies and religiousffairs are not subject to
any foreign domination."

However, as seen by the events unfolded since the beginning of this
year in Tibet, in reality China's grand promises of freedom for
religious belief provide meager protections for human rights and
religious freedom of the Tibetan people. This is evident from the
re-launch of the "patriotic re-education" campaign in supplement to
the last year's implementation of the "Tibet Autonomous Region
Implementing Measures for the Regulations on Religious Affairs", on 1
January 2007("Implementing Measures"), and the more specific Measures
on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan
Buddhism (the Reincarnation Measures).

The Chinese authorities, like in the past, have issued and
implemented "TAR" specific measures on religious affairs such as the
previous two measures and the "Patriotic re-education" Campaign. The
prominent theme evidenced by these measures and campaign is the
connection drawn by the Chinese Communist government between
splittism, or threats to the Chinese state's "national security",
"social stability" and "ethnic unity", from Tibetan Buddhists'
religious beliefs and activities. Because of the close link between
Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture and national identity, China
associates the practices of Tibetan Buddhism as a threat to its state
security. China nourishes a deep fear of any expression of religion
as a guise for protest or unpatriotic activity. The Chinese
government demands absolute loyalty from its subject and does not
tolerate or allow any activities that construes as challenge or
threat to its authorities. The Chinese Communist Party requires its
citizens to "love the country"- to respect the authority of the Party
above all other would-be competing loyalties. "TAR" Party Secretary
Zhang Qingli, claimed that the Chinese Communist Party is the "real
Buddha" for Tibetans.

On 29 May 2008, "TAR" Communist Party Secretary, Zhang Qingli, during
a meeting of the Party heads under various administrative regions
under "TAR" convened at Lhasa, formulated a six major areas of works
to be carried forward in their respective areas. Of the six areas of
works, the third point set to focus on the reinvigoration of
"Patriotic re-education" campaign and proposed the head of the
monastic institution to be more stringent in implementing the
campaign in religious institutes under their area.

TCHRD calls for the immediate end to the practice of conducting
so-called "patriotic re-education" campaign in Tibet and allows the
normal religious practice to flourish in the monastic institutions.
TCHRD also calls for the Chinese government to respect human rights
and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with national and
international human rights states. And it should guarantee immediate
and unconditional access to legal representation, their families and
any medical treatment they may require.

For their pictures and other related reports visit
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