China sentenced a Tibetan monk to three years in prison for holding prayers

Ven Lobsang Tashi, aged 43, was former head of prayer session in Ngaba Kirti Monastery, Ngaba County, Eastern Tibet.

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Dharamshala – Chinese authorities sentenced a Tibetan monk from Kriti monastery to three years in prison, in a secret trial, at the end of 2021, over allegedly contacting prayers for those who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, and making offerings (money offering to pray) to offices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kirti Rinpoche for the deceased.

According to some sources, the Chinese authorities arrested a Tibetan monk named Lobsang Tashi on June 10, 2021 and, after holding him for several months in a Chinese detention centre where he underwent intensive interrogation, he was sentenced to three years in prison at a secret trial, But the court that convicted him and the date of the sentence remain unknown, because the Chinese authorities deliberately convict Tibetans in secret trials, without family members or lawyers. They do what they want and they are not bound by the law when it applies to them, which is not the case for courts in democratic countries.

The source said, "Lobsang Tashi was summoned by Ngaba County Police while he was staying at Kirti Monastery and then he was arrested on June 10, 2021. After a few months in custody, he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in a secret trial, for allegedly contacting prayers for those who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, and not following the orders of the Chinese office during the national lockdown due to the pandemic, as well as for refusing to hoist the Chinese flag in the Ngaba Kirti monastery".

"He also accused of contacting Tibetans in exile and making offerings (money offered for prayers) to the offices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kirti Rinpoche, who live in Dharamshala, India", the source added. According to Tibetan tradition, when a loved one dies, Tibetans make offerings to lamas, monks, monasteries and above all to their spiritual leaders to pray for them. But the Chinese government does not allow Tibetans to make offerings to their spiritual leaders in exile, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kriti Rinpoche.

The source also said: "After being arrested by Chinese police in Ngaba County, Lobsang Tashi disappeared. No one knew where he was until his brother recently discovered that he had already been sentenced to three years in prison and was currently serving his three-year sentence in Mianyang prison, Chengdu city, Sichuan province, China."

Ven Lobsang Tashi, aged 43, was former head of prayer session in Ngaba Kirti Monastery. He is from the sixth small village, in the upper town of Nomad, Ngaba county, eastern Tibet. He became a monk at a very young age and studied at the Ngaba Kirti monastery, before becoming a chant master at the Kirti monastery. He then became a monk vocalist at Kirti monastery, Tashi Lhundup Ling monastery and Dhongre Kirti monastery. His late father's name is Sherab and he is the second youngest of his seven siblings.

China-Tibet: The one-thing you need to know

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent Buddhist nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse of the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. Religion was a unifying theme among the Tibetans -- as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.