DHARAMSHALA: Chinese authorities, on 14 March, detained seven Tibetan monks from Tsenden monastery in Sog County, Ngachu Prefecture in the so called Tibet Autonomous Region, media reports said quoting Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan based in exile with close contacts in the region.
The seven monks were identified as Namgyal Tsultrim, Lodoe Tenzin, Tsultrim Gongji, Tsultrim Namgyal, Thabkey Lhundup, Jigme Tsultrim and Jigme Drakpa.
Since their detention, the monks have been held incommunicado and the police refused to give any explanation for their arrest. The Chinese authorities have further increased their surveillance by installing around 50 CCTV cameras in the monastery premises to monitor the activities of the monks.
“The monks are watched closely around the clock, and they live in a constant state of fear and intimidation. They even complain of police harassment at night when they go out to use the bathroom,” Tharpa was reported as saying.
Tibetan residents of Sog, according to Tharpa, believe the monks were arrested for sharing information and pictures of the situation inside Tibet to others on the internet.
One of the monks, Namgyal Tsultrim, had already been imprisoned for seven days in 2011 for alleged contacts with what the Chinese government calls “exiled separatist forces”. He was again detained on October 6, 2012 for almost 5 months in Nagchu County and for 3 months in Toelung prison near Lhasa.
Chinese authorities in the region had clamped down on the use of social networking sites and other social media platforms throughout Tibet since the beginning of March. Particularly in the three Nagchu counties of Drachen (Baqing), Driru (Biru) and Sog, the clampdown was more pronounced as numerous protests against the Chinese government took place in these areas since 2008.