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Three young monks held for power station explosion in Markham

November 4, 2008, November 2, 2008

Three young monks have been detained on Oct 24 and 30 in connection 
with an explosion at a local power station on Sep 8 in Markham county 
of Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, reported Radio Free 
Asia (RFA), Washington, Oct 31. It cited Tibetan and Chinese sources 
as saying Ngawang Tenzin, 20; Tenzin Norbu, 19, and Tenzin Rinchen, 
17, were suspected of knocking out the local power station after the 
local television shows in August and September condemned the Dalai 
Lama as a "splittist" bent on dismantling China. The explosion caused 
no casualties.

The report said Rinchen was shot in the leg and arrested on Oct 24 
while Ngawang and Norbu were detained on Oct 30 night. The monks were 
taken to Chamdo while their families were ordered to remain in Markham.

The report cited a Markham county Public Security Bureau (PSB) officer 
as saying the alleged culprits had been hiding out somewhere for a 
little over a month and 20 days. "We caught one. There is no way to 
escape from us. If the other two culprits surrender on their own, 
China's legal system might show leniency."

Amid high restrictions, tension was reported to prevail in Markham, 
where the prefectural police chief was holding meetings and there was 
a huge presence by security forces here, the report said.

Ngawang's father, Dechen Dorje, 49, was held and questioned on Oct 26 
and was still in detention. Norbu's elder brother Lobsang Tenzin, 26, 
was held on Oct 19 while ploughing his field. He had been tortured for 
refusing to answer questions and was released on Oct 27, no longer 
able to move his hands or feet.
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