04/29/2009, 00.00
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Authorities trying to keep secret arrests and sentences of Tibetan monks

by Nirmala Carvalho
Chinese police tries to hush up the arrest of three monks in Ganchu. Court in Sichuan postpones ruling in the trial of well respected Lama Phurbu after his trial gains international attention.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Chinese police is trying to keep under wraps news about the arrests of three Tibetan monks in Nagchu County as a court in Sichuan postpones the sentencing of Lama Phurbu Tsering

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has reported the arrest on 11 April for unknown reasons of Khensur Thupten Thapkhey, a former abbot of Shapten Monastery, and Geshe Tsultrim Gyaltsen. Nagchu police tried to deny it by saying that the two had gone to Lhasa to receive a Geshe, a Tibetan Buddhist academic degree for monks.

Another monk, Tsundue, who heads the Shapten Monastery's Democratic Management Committee, was also detained.

The families of all three monks are worried because of the lack of information about their fate.

Meanwhile a court in Sichuan has yet to rule in the case of Phurbu Tsering, a lama arrested on weapons charges.

The international attention prompted by the case is the probable cause of the delay, said the lama’s lawyer, Li Fangping.

Phurbu, who runs two nunneries in Ganzi (Sichuan), is a charismatic figure among Tibetans.  As a ‘living Buddha’ he is considered a paragon of virtue.

He is jail since 18 May of last year when police found a gun and ammunition at his home.

He has always denied the charges, which many believe to be a fabrication against the Buddhist religious leader and fallout from last year’s local anti-Chinese protests.

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