04/07/2008, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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Two Tibetan monks commit suicide as police invades monasteries

by Nirmala Carvalho
Chinese police searches monasteries one by one, arresting hundreds of monks, parading them in the streets as a warning. Two monks commit suicide, “guilty” of taking part in “peaceful protests.” Tibetan exiles say what is happening now has been happening for years.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Two Tibetan monks committed suicide unable to oppose China’s growing oppression with police entering one monastery after the other to arrest monks.

Urgen Tenzin, executive director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), told AsiaNews that “Lobsang Jinpa (photo) from the Ngaba Kirti Monastery in Ngaba County” made the ultimate protest on 27 March; “Legtsok, 75, from Gomang Monastery made it on 30 March.

“I led the peaceful protests (10 March) and I am solely responsible for the entire peaceful protest,” wrote Lobsang in a letter found after his death.

“The police started house-to-house searches before 25 March (the deadline for protesters to surrender),” Urgen explained. “On 28 and 29 March the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) and the Public Security Bureau (PSB) searched the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba and arrested 572 monks, taking away all means of communication including cellphones, video cameras and computers, accusing the monks of being in contact with Tibetan exiles.”

Urgen added that “in Buddhist philosophy suicide is not accepted but these monks took the ultimate step because they felt they had no other alternative. Chinese officials force monks to disassociate themselves from the Dalai Lama, even taking away his portraits. In some cases they have forced the monks to stand with the Tibetan flag and portraits of the Dalai Lama so that they could be photographed and provide police with ‘proof’ of their crimes.”

“On 28 March they put about 30 Tibetans on the back of a military truck and paraded them through the streets of Nagba County to scare the population. Lobsang Tenzin and Lobsang Chodhar, the two monks from Kirti, were among them.”

“Monks are not allowed to learn Tibetan Buddhism, and in their own country Tibetans are treated as inferior to Chinese migrants.”

Monks are chased systematically with the authorities going from monastery to monastery.

“On the night of 29 March, the PAP and the PSB searched the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery and arrested the monks. On 30 March they invaded Gomand Monastery in Ngaba County and arrested about 20 monks.”

Urgen hopes the United Nations Human Rights, to whom they sent a petition, might intervene.

“The human rights violations and abuses have been committed in Tibet for years, but only now, thanks to the Olympics, the international community has become aware of them.”

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