China jails two monks for staging peaceful solo protests in Tibet

Dharamshala — Chinese authorities have jailed two Tibetan monks from Kirti monastery in Ngaba County of Tibet, for staging peaceful solo protests, both of which involved raising the banned portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“A court in Sichuan province sentenced Gedhun Phuntsok, 18, to four years in prison, while Lobsang Kalsang, 19, to three years and six months after it convicted them for peaceful protests against the Chinese regime in March,” Losang Yeshe and Kanyag Tsering from Kirti monastery in exile told the Tibet Post International.

The trial against Phuntsok was held in Li county (Tibetan: Tashiling Dzong), Ngaba prefecture. “He was immediately taken to Mianyang prison near Chengdu where most of the political prisoners in Sichuan are held. No more details of the trial are known,” they said.

“Phuntsok walked about for few minutes in the street (About 1:30 pm local, March 8, 2015) while raising a portrait of the Tibetan spiritual leader with a yellow Tibetan scarf, shouting slogans such as “Equal rights for Tibetans in Tibet” and “the Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet,” the source said citing contacts in Tibet.

“Chinese security personnel arrived at the site of the protest after few minutes,” they said, adding “after that he’s disappeared. The sources said that “after the arrest his condition and whereabouts remain unknown. “Her father’s name is Tagya, and her mother’s name is Rig-go.

Phuntsok is a native of Chayultso Chukley Gabma village, Ngaba County in Amdho Region of north-eastern Tibet Tibet (Ch: Aba County, Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in the north-west of Sichuan Province). He became monk at a young age at Kirti Monastery where he studied Buddhist philosophy and culture, and Tibetan language.

“Kalsang also walked around for several minutes [at approximately 3.40pm local time, March 17] while carrying a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his left hand and distributing wind-horse prayer flags while chanting “Freedom for Tibet!” Kanyak and Yeshi added, citing contacts in the region.

“Chinese security personnel arrived at the site of the protest shortly after,” they said, adding that “Nothing had been heard of him since the time of his arrest that day.”

Kalsang is a native of Chukle Gupma village, Charuwa Yultso, Ngaba County in the Amdho region of north-eastern Tibet (Ch: Aba County, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in the north-west of Sichuan province). He joined Kirti Monastery at a young age to become a monk where he trained in Buddhist studies.

His father’s name is Tsering and his mother’s name is Dechen. They have three children; Kalsang is the middle child and he is a cousin of Gendun Puntsok.

In March 2008, Tibet witnessed a peaceful demonstrations in Tibetan capital Lhasa, which broke out in widespread protests all over Tibet- its biggest protest in 20 years. China responded to the unrest with a deadly military crackdown.

Human rights activists say China tramples on religious freedom and culture in Tibet, which it has ruled with an iron fist since Chinese troops invaded the region in 1949. The regime recently imposed severe restrictions on internet and phone connections throughout Tibet in a greater attempt to prevent information reaching the outside world.

 

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