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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."

Tibetan Monks Freed in Golmud

September 7, 2008

Radio Free Asia
2008-09-03

Nearly six months after a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, 
authorities are releasing some Buddhist monks from detention.

DHARAMSALA-A group of Tibetan monks, originally from Tibetan-
populated regions of China's southwest Sichuan province, has been 
released from detention in Qinghai province and returned to their 
home areas, according to Tibetan sources.

The group had been held for more than four months in the town of 
Golmud, in Qinghai, with monks from other regions.

All had been studying in monasteries in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet 
Autonomous Region (TAR), and were suspected of involvement in 
protests there in March against Chinese rule.

Monks originally from Qinghai had been released earlier into the 
custody of officials from Qinghai's United Front and Religious 
Affairs Bureau and taken from Golmud into house arrest near their homes.

Held longer

The group from Sichuan-an area still troubled by anti-China protests-
was held in Golmud for a longer time, a Tibetan monk living in India 
said, citing sources in the region.

"They were told that they would be detained pending receipt of a 
letter from the Sichuan authorities agreeing to take them into 
custody," the monk, who asked to be identified only as Tsering, said.

"Finally, a group of 50 to 80 monks and laypersons arrived at the Aba 
[in Tibetan, Ngaba] county center in Sichuan on Aug. 27," Tsering 
said. "They are being detained in a school compound close to the 
county government complex."

"The county officials, the police, and the army are jointly 
monitoring them. They could be undergoing some kind of political re-
education campaign."

Tsering said the monks being held in the school compound are "not 
allowed to leave" the complex, though their relatives can visit them 
at the school.

Among those detained are 27 monks from Kirti monastery and monks from 
the Tse and Gomang monasteries in Aba.

"There are also some businessmen from Aba who were detained in Lhasa 
during the protests," Tsering said.

Separate groups

Another monk, one of those released, said the monks were taken from 
Golmud and returned to Sichuan in separate groups.

"On Aug. 26, a group of 60 monks detained in Golmud was moved to the 
Aba area in Sichuan. Officials of the United Front and Religious 
Affairs Bureau, along with a group of local police, went to Golmud 
and took charge of the monks belonging to their respective counties," 
the monk said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Other monks belonging to different areas in Sichuan were moved in 
different groups on Aug. 27, 28, and 29 from Golmud under escort by 
officials from their respective United Front and Religious Affairs 
Bureaus and the police. The last group of 14 monks was moved on Aug. 
29 to the Kardze area from Golmud."

The monks who were held in Golmud had endured beatings and 
psychological torture, the released monk said. "As a result, many 
became ill and several developed heart problems."

"They have been told not to return to their monasteries in Lhasa. 
Even [now], in their hometowns, their movements are restricted, and 
they cannot leave without the approval of the local authorities."

Original reporting by RFA's Tibetan service. Tibetan service 
director: Jigme Ngapo. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in 
English by Richard Finney. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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