January 14, 2009 5:27 pm
China Reinforces Patriotic Education in Drepung Monastery: ReportWednesday, 14 January 2009, 5:27 p.m.
42 monks of Tibet’s Drepung monastery have been sentenced to imprisonment and many others left infirm due to severe tortureDharamshala: A senior official of China’s United Front Work Department has indicated to strengthen patriotic re-education programmes in Drepung monastery during his meeting with the monastery’s relevant members of the work committee and democratic management committee on 8 January, sources said on 13 January.Tibetans, particularly in the monastic section are forced to denounce their supreme spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, during the patriotic education. On 10 March last year, Tibetans, including monks, nuns and students from across the three traditional provinces of Tibet, reaffirmed their faith in the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and vented pent-up resentments against the wrong policies of the Chinese government. The subsequent violent crackdown on Tibetan protesters left 219 Tibetans dead, 1294 injured, 5,600 people arrested or detained and more than 1000 still missing.The Executive Vice Minister of the Central United Front Work Department, Mr. Zhu Weiqun, attributed the restoration of smooth running of religious activities in Drepung monastery to the collective efforts of work teams. He strongly urged the members to reinforce stricter measures to maintain stability in the monastery.In reality, the normal functioning of religious studies and related activities suffered severe disruption as the monastery remained shut down since 10 March 2008.Students from Tibet’s Amdo and Kham provinces, who undertake studies in Drepung monastery were forced to return to their homes. According sources, Ven Kunchok Nyima, a teacher at the monastery was forcibly sent back to his native town in Amdo.In another case, severe beating left Ven Lobsang Wangchuk from Lhasa virtually blind, who is currently serving imprisonment in an unknown location in the capital.Those detained including Ven Ngawang Dondham from Toelung county could not even hold a bowl in his hands as a result of severe torture.According to sources, 42 monks of Drepung monastery have been sentenced to imprisonment with terms ranging from 15 to 2 years. Those serving 15 years jail term include Ngawang Choenyi, a monk from Lhasa. The sources could not report exact prison terms meted out to the remaining Tibetans, but confirmed their names.Detainee released after severe tortureAccording to sources, a Tibetan arrested for taking part in protest in Karze (Ch: Ganzi) Karze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, on 13 March last year was released on medical parole on 2 January 2009.On 28 March 2008, Guru Dojree, aged 49 and father of four children was arrested from his home by officials of the Public Security Bureau and armed personnel on charges of his involvement in peaceful protests in Karze. On hearing about the arrest, his wife, Sherab Yangtso, turned mentally unstable as a result of enormous grief and later died.Even as the Intermediate People’s Court in Karze had sentenced Guru Dorjee to 3-year imprisonment, severe torture during the detention left him physically debilitated and officials him shifted to a hospital in Dartsedo. As there is no one except his two children, he was handed over to some local Tibetans after they were compelled to sign an agreement which bars Guru to take part in any demonstrations. He is currently undergoing treatment at his home and could not visit hospital on his own due to very poor health condition.Guru Dorjee deeply regrets for not able to meet his wife as her requests to meet him once were repeatedly turned down by the concerned Chinese officials. Disruption of annual religious debate in Ngaba, AmdoThe concerned department of Chinese government has denied permission to the Kirti Monastery to hold Janggun-Choe-Chenmo, an annual debate where 4000 monks from monasteries across Tibet’s traditional provinces, including Kirti, gathered in the 11 month of lunar year. The first debate was held in Taktsang Lhamo Kirti monastery in 2007.According to sources, the Chinese government has turned down three petitions forwarded by the monks of Kirti monastery to organise this year’s debate.Moreover, Tibetans are denied freedom of religion, as concerned officials banned religious discourse by resource persons, including Geshe and Lama, during last year’s festival of Lhabab Duchen.