05/20/2010, 00.00
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Tibetan Activist: Beijing attacks the monks to eradicate our culture

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, tells AsiaNews about the latest wave of arrests and violence against Buddhist monks: "We denounce the cruelty of China." In two days, six other monks from the temple of Wara detained.

Lhasa (AsiaNews) - Without a series of radical changes within the Chinese leadership "there is no hope for an improved human rights situation in China or Tibet. The monks and monasteries continue to be targets for Chinese persecution because of the Buddhist religion and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who embodies Tibetan identity. In fact, Beijing tries to stop the men from safeguarding, maintaining  and transmitting  the culture of their region”, says Urgen Tenzin, executive director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, to AsiaNews, commenting on the wave of arrests and repression against the Tibetan community.

Between 15 and 16 May last, several public security officials entered the monastery of Wada and arrested six monks. On 15 May Thinley and Nangsey - 25 and 27 years old - were arrested in their rooms; Soegon was stopped as he sounded the alarm sounded about the police raid.  Kelsang Gyurmey, 29, was instead found in his home of origin: officers had entered the monastery to find him.  All four monks were studying Buddhist philosophy: when they are now locked up in prison in Jomda County.

On 16 May, also, the police returned to Wara and arrested two other senior monks: Sonam Gonpo, 40, and Tagyal 29. Officials have accused them of "failing in educating the young monks," as required by the program of patriotic education launched after the riots of April 2008.  In fact Wara Monastery was one of the most affected by government repression for its role in those disturbances: at the beginning of the clashes, born precisely from a program, the monks  had declared: "We will never betray the Dalai Lama, we are ready to sacrifice our lives".

Since then, Beijing has launched a series of arrests and violence against the monks of the area and their faithful. According to Tenzin, "all of us who live in the free world are deeply saddened by what is happening in China. There is a sense of uselessness, we feel unable to help our suffering brethren in the country: the only thing we can do is report what happens, because China is so concerned about its public image. If Beijing wants to become a responsible country, it should improve the situation of human rights. Non-violence is the way forward".


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