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20may20101Dharamshala: Four monks of the Wara Monastery in Thangpu Township, Jomda County (Ch: Jiangda xian) in Chamdo Prefecture, "Tibet Autonomous Region" (‘TAR') were arrested last Saturday (15th May) under suspicion of leading and instigating a protest at the county headquarters in Spring 2008. Two other official monks of the same monastery were arrested on Sunday, according to a report by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

A total of six monks of the Wara Monastery were arrested during early morning raids carried out by scores of Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials at the monks' residence on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, Thinley, 25, and Nangsey, 27, were arrested in their room whereas Soegon, 26, was arrested for sounding the alarm on the arrival of the PSB at the monastery. Kelsang Gyurmey, 29, whom the PSB officials were looking for, could not be traced in the monastery and was later arrested at his home. All four monks were students of Buddhist philosophy at Wara Buddhist College that comes under the Wara Monastery. The four monks are currently being detained at Jomda County PSB Detention Centre.

The following morning, the PSB officials came again to the Wara Monastery and detained two senior monks: Sonam Gonpo a.k.a Soegon, 40, and Tagyal, 29. The duo was arrested for their failure to "educate" the monks of the monastery under the "Patriotic Education" campaign launched at the beginning of April 2008. There is no information on where the two monks are currently held.

On 3rd April 2008, monks of the monastery confronted and challenged the teachings of the 'Patriotic Education' campaign by saying that "even at the cost of our lives we will never defame and denounce our religious leader, the Dalai Lama". According to sources, many of the monastery's monks were at the forefront during the 2008 protests in Jomda County, when they were blocked by the People's Armed Police (PAP) from advancing towards the main county market to proceed with their protest.

At the beginning of this year, a novice monk, Jamyang Palden, 14, was detained twice and released after undergoing torture to extract a confession for his role in the 2008 Jomda protest. He was detained for more than a week on both occasions at the Jomda County PSB Detention Centre. Similarly, Gyaltsen, 16, was detained under suspicion of distributing a speech by the late Panchen Lama to Tibetans during the 2008 protest. He was released after a week of interrogation at the PSB detention centre.

TCHRD strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of the Wara monks. The Centre calls upon the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the detained monks and guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the detained monks. The Chinese authorities should put an end to all acts of harassment against the monks so that they are able to carry out their religious studies without obstruction.

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