Seven more Serwa monks arrested

In July this year seven monks from Serwa monastery in Chamdo region were arrested by the Communist China’s Public Security Bureau. This is the second known case of arrest of Serwa monks. Earlier in March 1994 five monks from the same monastery were arrested and are presently serving prison sentences of 12 to 15 years in Powo Tramo Labour Camp. Their only crime was that they dared to raise their voice against the repressive rule of the Chinese authorities.

According to a young Tibetan farmer who recently escaped from Pashoe County of Tibet, seven monks from Serwa monastery in Pashoe county under Chamdo Region were arrested. Apparently the monks of Serwa monastery left their monastery in the early morning of 30 June 1997. Around dusk that same day they reached Lingkha subcounty. Upon their arrival there, they took down the nameplates of the headquarters of the People’s government of the Lingkha sub county in Pashoe county and in its place pasted wall posters that read: “Tibet is an independent country”.

They later marched towards Pashoe county and around dawn on 1 July, 1997, they reached Pashoe county where they staged a demonstration, shouting, “Tibet is an independent country, basic human rights of the Tibetans must be respected”, etc. Soon all seven were immediately whisked away by the PSB officials of the Pashoe county.

They were kept in detention for about a month during which they were said to have been tortured indiscriminately. They were later transferred to Chamdo prison in Chamdo proper. Nothing is known of their health condition nor or how long they are sentenced to.

The seven monks are 25-year-old Tashi Phuntsok, Rinzin Choephel (24), Sherab Tsultrim (25), Dawa Dorjee (24), Lobsang Damchoe (26) and Ngawang Choephel (16). All the seven are from Lingkha sub county. According to the informant, along with seven monks, the artist of the same monastery 36-year-old Rinzin Choephel was handed over to the Chamdo authorities for further actons to be taken against him. He was suspected of having links with the seven monks and their activities. Earlier in March 1994 five monks were arrested for breaking the nameplates of the government offices and raising their voice for the Independence of Tibet showing their opposition to the Chinese rule. They were Chemi Dorjee, Lobsang Tsegyal, and Pema Tsering, all sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and subsequent deprivation of political rights for 5 years. While, Lobsang Palden and Jampa Tashi were sentenced for 12 years with subsequent deprivation of political rights for four years. They are now serving their prison term under pathetic prisons condition in one of the most notorious prison in Tibet. (Refer Volume II Number 2 of the Human Rights Update)

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