05/04/2011, 00.00
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Tortured in prison, two Tibetan monks are convicted for protesting

Both religious opposed the seizure of land owned by their monastery for hundreds of years. Police arrested them for leading a peaceful protest. In prison, they were tortured.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Trulku Jangchub and Pesang, two monks from Jophu Monastery, in Jomda County, Chamdo Prefecture (Tibet) were sentenced to three years and half in prison for protesting the seizure of monastery land, this according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (THCRD). The two monks were convicted in March but news of it only surfaced in recent days.

At the end of 2009, the authorities decided to take land belonging to Jophu Monastery, ostensibly for “development purposes”. However, monks protested at the decision, backed by local residents, arguing that the land rightfully belonged to the monastery. In December 2009, police arrested Trulku for leading the protest action. In January of this year, they did the same with Pesang for the same reasons.

In prison, both monks were subjected to severe torture, the THCRD reported. In Pesang’s case, it was so bad that he had to be hsopitalised.

Tibetan monks are firmly opposed to Chinese domination, and organise peaceful and non-violent protest actions.

Conversely, Chinese police has systematically targeted Tibetan monasteries and monks as part of a policy of virtual cultural genocide whose goal is to destroy the religious roots of Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule.

In the last few years, hundreds if not thousands of Tibetan monks and nuns have suffered beatings, arrests and convictions. In some monasteries, Chinese authorities have imposed compulsory “political education”.

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