Two more monks secretly detained following Tibetan mother’s self-immolation

Mother of two, Sangyal Tso, died of self-immolation protest.
Mother of two, Sangyal Tso, died of self-immolation protest.

Chinese authorities have deepened the crackdown on local Tibetans following the self-immolation of Sangyal Tso, a Tibetan mother of two, who died of self-immolation protest late last month in Dokhog (Ch: Daogao) Township in Chone (Ch: Zhuoni) County, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

According to reliable information received by TCHRD, two monks were detained in the first week of June from Choephel Shing Tashi Choekorling Monastery based in Dokhog Township. Samten Gyatso, a student at the monastery’s traditional medical college was detained on 4 June and taken to an undisclosed location. Lobsang Tenzin was a student of Buddhist dialectics college at the monastery until his sudden and arbitrary detention on 5 June.

Both monks are in their 20s and hail from the same village as Sangyal Tso, who was born and raised in Meru Sipa Village in Nyinpa (Ch: Niba) Township, Chone County. There is no information on the current condition and well-being of the monks.

Although relevant police officers provided no explanation for the arbitrary and incommunicado detention of the monks, local Tibetans suspect that the monks were most probably detained for sharing information about Sangyal Tso’s self-immolation protests via voice messaging service such as WeChat.

New information on Sangyal Tso reveals that months before the mother of two had sent all her precious belongings including jewelry and other expensive clothing to her in-laws’ home hoping that these would be used in funding her children’s education in future. After her death, local officials visited Tso’s in-laws’ home and forced them to take out all the things she had sent, and then took pictures of them. Other family members of Sangyal Tso are being subjected to severe interrogations.

Sources told TCHRD that restrictions on local Tibetans in Chone including Meru Sipa Village have increased with the authorities monitoring and surveilling communication channels including voice messaging services and emails.

TCHRD condemns the Chinese government’s continued crackdown on self-immolation protests and the attendant human rights violations, without ever making the effort to listen to what the self-immolators have to say. Instead the Chinese government has made it a standard propaganda practice to project Tibetan self-immolators in negative, degrading and ‘slavish’ light, with one official claiming that self-immolation protests were “instigated” by hostile forces aiming to split People’s Republic of China, conveniently killing off the personal self-determination of the 141 Tibetans who chose to protest through self-immolation. Such evasive statements do not negate the fact that Tibetans are choosing to die than live under repressive policies of the Chinese government.

“Arbitrary detention, arrest, torture, unfair sentencing: these will not help deter self-immolation protests,” said Tsering Tsomo, director of TCHRD. “To begin with, the Chinese government must take responsibility for the death and destruction its policies have caused to over 141 Tibetan self-immolators and their family members. The ongoing self-immolation protests are radical reminders to the Chinese government that its policy and its approach to Tibetans have failed.”

For more on Sangyal Tso, click on the following links:

China detains nephew of dead Tibetan self-immolator, pressures family members to call it ‘natural death’: Click Here

Tibetan mother dies of self-immolation protest in front of Chinese government office: Click Here

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