DHARAMSHALA: Eight Tibetans were arrested by Chinese authorities for planning to protest against alleged looting of religious artefacts by Chinese officials from a monastery in Palyul county, Kardze in eastern Tibet, according to confirmed news reports.
The Tibetans were arrested on 22 November after a tip-off to the police about a possible protest the next day by Tibetans in the region against the local Chinese authorities. The arrested Tibetans include six monks from the Khangmar Nyingmapa monastery and two lay Tibetans.
According to a local source, Tibetans in the Terlung region had been unhappy ever since sacred stones and artefacts from the Khangmar Nyingmapa monastery were reportedly stolen by two Chinese officials.
The stolen artefacts were later seen at a construction site of a new Chinese administrative building, while some of the sacred stones were reported to be sold in mainland China.
After repeated requests to the local Chinese administration were ignored, the Tibetans decided to stage a huge protest on 23 November to demand the return of these sacred artefacts to the monastery, a source said requesting anonymity.
However, the Chinese authorities got wind of the planned protest. They sent a large number of soldiers on the day before the actual protests and arrested the Tibetans, the source added.
After the arrests, severe restrictions were imposed on the monastery. They deployed soldiers and plain-clothed policemen to monitor the movements of the monks.