Dharamshala: - A Tibetan monk has disappeared after sending emails to the mobile phones of Chinese cadres stationed at Tsenden Monastery in Sog (Ch: Suo) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. The email contained some of his writings which criticized Chinese rule.
According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), an NGO based out of India, 20 year old Choeying Kalden, a monk at Tsenden Monastery, hailing from Yeggu Village of Yagla (Ch: Yala) Township in Sog County was detained on 16th March 2014. The monk had shared his writings among his friends as well as Chinese 'work team' members through emails. His location remains unknown.
Kalden used to write essays and poems on Tibetan culture and identity under the pseudonym Sog Thug (Eng: 'Mongolian Child'); some of which have now become available outside Tibet.
Some of the his writings include pieces where he condemns the new repressive campaigns implemented by the Chinese authorities in recent years; such as the ongoing campaign of forcing Tibetans to fly the red-starred Chinese flags on rooftops.
Below is a selected translation of Choeying Kalden's writings that found its way into the Chinese cadres' mobile phones:
It is karma that communists stamped their footprints
On the stone pillar of the white snow mountains
It is karma that communists are losing their ground
In today's world of information and technology
You may own the doors of our mouth and tongue
But our heart shall always belong to the Lama
The five-starred red flag may be hoisted on the Land of Snows
But the symbol of Tibet will be the Snow Lion
The path of democracy that the world treads today
Has become the yoke of the Chinese Communist authorities
This victorious non-violent resistance
Is the glory of the red-faced Tibetan people
My body belongs to Tibet
My mind belongs to Tibet
I whose body and mind belong to Tibet
Shall never loosen my fist of solidarity
Recently, Sog County has witnessed a wave of arbitrary arrests and random searches. A considerable number of both monastic and lay Tibetans have been detained and disappeared. The neighbouring Diru County too has been subjected to repressive campaigns by the Chinese authorities all through 2013.
On 14 March 2014, Gedun Drakpa, a 20 year old monk at Sog Tsenden Monastery was detained after red-starred Chinese flags were set on fire and graffiti on Tibetan independence were scrawled over the walls of the houses where the permanent Chinese work teams were stationed.
On the night of 17 March 2014, four monks including Tsangyang Gyatso, the umze (chant master) of Drilda Monastery were detained. The three other monks are identified as Tsewang, Atse and Gyaltsen. They continue to be detained incommunicado. To petition for their release, six monks of the monastery approached the Trido (Ch: Chiduo) Township government office but they were detained. Although they were released on 20th March, the monks had been severely beaten up during their brief detention. Due to extreme restrictions on communication channels, TCHRD cannot immediately identify the monks.
Drilda monks continue to become targets of arbitrary detention and interrogation because the authorities suspect their involvement in pasting leaflets carrying Tibetan freedom messages on a nearby iron bridge. Drilda Monastery is under lockdown after the arrival of paramilitary officers who keep a watch on the movements of the monks.
In Trido Township, paramilitary and police forces have been deployed to intensify restrictions, with a couple of police checkposts between every village. The crackdown has spread to the ten villages located in Trido Township where local Tibetans are subjected to random searches and questioning.
On 28 March 2014, two Tibetan laymen Rinchen Wangdue and Phurtse were detained in Village No. 4 of Trido Township for sharing news related to the crackdown through email. The same day, Adey, a monk of Drilda Monastery was also detained.
On 6 March 2014, Chinese security forces arrested five Tibetans, including two monks from Drilda Monasteryand three laymen from Dowa Village for allegedly providing pictures and information related to Tibetan protests to the outside world.
On 14 March 2014, two Tibetan youths Tsering Samphel, 18, and Drakpa, were arrested and taken away to an unknown location from Triru Village in Sog County for sharing songs of famous Tibetan singer, Sherten, through mobile phones.
On 13 March 2014, Chinese security forces arrested two monks from Drilda monastery - Lobsang Dhargay, 19 and Lungtok Gyaltsen, 18, while they were returning from Chunpa Village, where they had gone to buy provisions for the monastery, to celebrate the Buddhist holy month. They were arrested on the suspicion that they were involved in writing the graffiti on a boulder near the iron bridge.
On 3 February 2014, five Tibetan youths from Village No. 3 in Trido Township were arrested as police expanded its search for those responsible for writing the graffiti. Of them, three – Sisum Dorje, Lhakpa and Jamyang Gyatso – were released and ordered to report daily to the Trido Township government office. The location and status of the other two - Asang and Margong – remain unknown despite persistent efforts by family members and local Tibetans.
Additionally, four monks from Shartsa Monastery in Dowa Village, who were arrested on 4 February 2014, in connection with the message written on a boulder, remain missing.
A Tibetan man, Gawa Sangpo from Yeggu Village of Yagla Township has been in police detention since January 2013 without being charged with a crime. He has been held in Sog County Detention Centre since his arrest. Gawa Sangpo was arrested for penning a 'three-point note on Tibet.' The issues he raised in the note are:
1. Expressing his faith in the Dalai Lama, whom he considers as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people
2. Recognition of Lobsang Sangay as the political leader of the Tibetan people and thus follow his words
3. Tibet is an independent nation, so we want independence.
According to sources, Gawa Sangpo had expressed three principal regrets: the Chinese police arresting him before he was able to commit self immolation, not being allowed to raise the Tibetan flag at the Potala Palace in Lhasa and not being able to set fire to the Chinese flag.
Chinese law requires that a detainee be charged or released within a week of being detained or up to 30 days if the case involves multiple crimes in different places. Gawa Sangpo has now been detained for over 16 months without being charged. While in detention, he has suffered severe beating and torture at the hands of security forces. It has taken a year for friends and family to find out about Gawa Sangpo's detention during which he suffered beatings and torture, according to sources.
Sangpo's detention, like the detention of the other Tibetans from Sog, violates basic human rights standards that prohibit arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and torture.