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13april20110132Dharamshala: - A serious situation has escalated recently in Ngaba county, Amdo region of eastern Tibet as the Kirti Monastery in the region has been sealed off by armed Chinese security forces. The armed forces this week also have prevented food from entering the monastery, and from Monks leaving. The situation worsened over the past few days, when the Chinese Government announced that; "Monks between the age of 18 to 40 must be taken to a different location, for ‘patriotic education'.

Sources said many hundreds monks were taken in the early hours of the 12th of April. The news had spread among the local community over the past few days, that the Chinese were going to forcibly take Monks from Kitri Monastery. Ven. Kanyak Tsering and Lobsang Yeshi from exile based Kirti monastery told the The Tibet Post International (TPI) that "Tibetans came to the monastery to see what was happening for themselves, however the Chinese still had the monastery surrounded by guards."

"The community at first was nervous and kept a safe distance. When more armed Chinese security came and attempted to enter the inner sanctum of the monastery at around 12 o'clock, many Tibetans from the community bravely prevented them from moving any further by blocking their way. The Chinese reacted by beating the Tibetans, and used trained dogs to prevent them. The increased military presence couldn't enter the inner sanctum monastery due to the community working together," sources told TPI.

The protesters, along with monks, aimed to push their way out of the monastery. However, barbed wire fences erected by Chinese forces prevented this. The members of the Monastery's religious affairs office pleaded to the community for keep calm, and peace during the unrest. Later, at around 3.30pm local, Tibetans in the community and military forces clashed. The two main roads leading to Kitri were blocked by Tibetans. Many monks attempted to come outside to show solidarity with the Tibetan community; however the monastery was already fenced off with barbed wire, and a hastily built brick wall; so no-one could leave to show their support.

The Chinese Government have imposed a traffic suspension in Ngaba County until further notice, due to the escalating situation. The Chinese have also prevented Tibetan students from returning home in the region, because of the sensitive situation.

The Sources futher told TPI that, the ‘re-education' programme the monks had been sent to by the Chinese, is nothing more than abduction and imprisonment. The local community understands what fate the monks have ahead, as the restrictions on religious practice and violence has already suggested.

The Chinese plan, our informant tell us, was hopeful that the Monks would be removed and taken without public knowledge, and many believe that this mass arrest was pre-planned a long time ago. Kitri monastery has a population of around 2500 monks, the majority of which are believed to be aged between 18-40 years old.

Further to the reported protest and confrontation at Kirti monastery on April 12, 40 medium sized military trucks arrived at the monastery, but the local people blocked their way and they could not enter. That night, many locals slept out on the road in the vicinity of the main gate of the monastery. The authorities sent many police officers and a large number of soldiers into the area, and they conducted house to house investigation in Ngaba county and surrounding settlements such as Gabma Dewa (pastoral community). They questioned each household about the number of household members, their present whereabouts, whether all the people present were members of that household etc., but as this is a large community, we have not been able to learn details of those arrested and detained in the process.

Two old women over 60 years old are reported to have died during the confrontation with the army on 12th, but we are still trying to establish their names and places of origin etc.

Local people understand that space has been made for 1000 inmates at the prison in Mao Xian, in the southern part of Ngaba prefecture, and that the authorities were planning to intern Kirti monks aged 18-40 in that detention facility. Soldiers have been posted to many hospitals in the county.