Senior Buddhist scholar arrested as repression escalates in restive Tibetan county

Senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup arrested and disappeared in May 2014.

Senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup arrested and disappeared in May 2014.

A senior Tibetan monk who is an accomplished Buddhist scholar was arbitrarily arrested and disappeared in May 2014 while he was giving a lecture on the “status of Tibetan language and nationality” (Tib. mi rigs dang skad yig ki gnas bab skor) to villagers of Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) Town[i] in the restive Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham.

According to a reliable source, the Chinese police arrested the senior Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama’s ‘soul day’, from Gom Gonsar Monastery at Lenchu Township in Diru County. It is still unknown on which Wednesday in May he was arrested. The source told TCHRD that at the time of his arrest, the senior Buddhist scholar was giving a lecture on the status of Tibetan language and nationality to the residents of Shagchu Town on the latter’s invitation.

The source added that on every Wednesday, which is celebrated in many parts of Tibet as Lhakar or the ‘soul day’ of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Lhundrup used to give Buddhist teachings to the local Tibetans, help arbitrate disputes, and advocate vegetarianism. He is known also for zealously advocating the need to preserve Tibetan identity. All of these initiatives had earned him much respect and admiration from the local Tibetans.

Tenzin Lhundrup had been under the radar of Chinese security forces ever since he spearheaded the local opposition to Chinese mining activities at the sacred Naglha Dzamba Mountain in the area last year.[ii] “He regularly gave speeches to the local Tibetans to protect the sacred mountain from Chinese miners, and once he publicly offered scarves to the members of a local committee set up to protect the mountain as mark of respect and appreciation for their resistance against mining,” said the source. [Read more...]

Mandela legacy continues to inspire Tibetans

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's meeting with Mandela in 1996 in South Africa.  (Photo: ANC Archives)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s meeting with Mandela in 1996 in South Africa. (Photo: ANC Archives)

Nelson Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013.  His state funeral on Sunday, 15 December is a time for the world to gather and remember Mandela’s life and legacy.  Mandela will be forever remembered as the first black president of South Africa and a champion of non-violence who was instrumental not only in ending apartheid but also for uniting South Africa behind the rule of law, constitutionalism, and racial reconciliation after decades of minority rule by a racist regime.  This legacy and the success of the “freedom struggle” against apartheid is an inspiration for Tibetans who live under a discriminatory regime that exists above the law and imposes its will through the heavy-handed use of force. [Read more...]

China tightens the screw after shooting Tibetan worshippers in Tawu

Armed police making their way down to beat, teargas and shoot Tibetans celebrating Dalai Lama's birthday.

Armed police making their way down to beat, teargas and shoot Tibetans who had come to celebrate Dalai Lama’s birthday.

China has launched a crackdown on local Tibetans who had organised a religious ceremony to observe the birthday of Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama last month in Tawu (Ch: Dawu/Daofu) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham.

On 6 July 2013, China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) beat and fired teargas and live ammunition on hundreds of Tibetans who had gathered near Machen Pomra Mountain in Tawu to offer the ritual of incense-burning to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama. At least 14 known Tibetans were injured in the firing and others were detained.

Since then, local authorities in Tawu have intensified surveillance and monitoring of local Tibetans and announced strict punitive measures against local officials and cadres for failing to ‘maintain stability’.  Local authorities have vowed to crack down on any signs of ‘separatist’ sentiments and activities by implementing five major ‘stability maintenance’ measures in Tawu County, according to a report published in the official Ganzi Daily newspaper. (Also click here for related report in Chinese language) [Read more...]

China implements measures to appoint political monks in guise of spiritual teachers

New measures to control Buddhist monastic teachers was approved at during the second session of the eighth council of Buddhist Association of China held on 25 November 2012.

New measures to control Buddhist monastic teachers were approved during the second session of the eighth council of Buddhist Association of China on 25 November 2012.

In the past weeks, there has been persistent speculation on ‘experimental’ moves by the Chinese authorities to overturn some of its decades-old vilification campaign against the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A handful of Tibetan monasteries in the Tibetan provinces of Amdo and Kham, located respectively in present-day Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, were given verbal permission to display portraits of the Dalai Lama and worship him as a religious, and not as a political figure. According to these verbal orders, monks and nuns are no longer required to denounce the Dalai Lama, which is an essential component in political education classes in Tibet’s monastic institutions.  Major international media outlets heralded this as a change in China’s Tibet policy.

Only a few days later on 28 June 2013, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), the highest official body that regulates all recognised religions in the People’s Republic of China, denied any reversal of its long-standing policy on the Dalai Lama. [Read more...]

My words are not tainted by lies and deception: Gartse Jigme

Gartse Jigme, monk and writer, sentenced to five years in prison

Gartse Jigme, monk and writer, sentenced to five years in prison

Imprisoned Tibetan monk and writer Gartse Jigme in a heartfelt appeal calls on the Chinese government to reach out to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to listen to the demands articulated by self-immolation protesters, as a first step towards creating a truly harmonious and stable Tibet where respect for Tibetan rights and freedoms would replace oppression and suffering.

This essay appears at the end of the second volume of his book, “Tsenpoi Nyingtop” (The King’s Valour) which was published this month in India after the author was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He is being imprisoned at an undisclosed location.

About the book, Gartse Jigme writes:

While publishing this book, I endured loads of pain. Tears drenched my heart. For the true values of truth, justice, rights, equality, peace and harmony, I sacrificed everything and wrote this book. This [book] is a source of joy to me. It is my hope for the future. The book is not at all meant to prove my heroism. This book is a way out for me to shed tears once for the suffering of my ancestors. The book is not written to prove my scholarly credentials. It is a way out for me to shed tears for the pain and suffering endured by my fellow-countrymen. To be honest, I am not a hero. I am not a scholar. I am not wealthy. I am nothing. Amid the waves of truth and justice, I cried once with the suffering of my fellow countrymen. [Read more...]

Tibetan writer sentenced to 5 yrs in prison for writing book on self-immolation


Gartse Jigme, monk and writer, sentenced to five years in prison

Gartse Jigme, monk and writer, sentenced to five years in prison

By branding Dalai Lama as their enemy and neglecting the demands of self-immolators, they have shown that they consider more than 99% of the Tibetan population as their enemies.

~ Gartse Jigme, imprisoned monk and writer


On 14 May 2013, two days before the launch of Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV’s fifth propaganda film on self-immolations, a Tibetan writer was quietly sentenced to five years in prison for writing a book on the issue of Tibet issue including self-immolation protests.

According to exile Tibetan sources, Gartse Jigme, 36, a writer and monk, was sentenced to prison on 14 May 2013 for authoring a book with political contents by Tsekhog (Ch: Zekog) County People’s Court in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.   [Read more...]

Three Lives and A Song: Disappearance of Panchen Lama

The Previous Xth Panchen Lama

The Previous Xth Panchen Lama

Today marks the 18th year of Tibet’s XIth Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s disappearance into Chinese custody. One of the most important spiritual leaders of Tibet, the then six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family members were ‘disappeared’ by the Chinese authorities on 17 May 1995, just three days after His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the previous Xth Panchen Lama.

TCHRD has translated the lyrics of a song, “Dear Panchen Lama”, sung by the imprisoned Tibetan singer Lolo about the previous Xth Panchen Lama and his ‘disappeared’ reincarnation. [Read more...]

‘Weakness of the Oppressor’ : Leaked document exposes psychological traumas faced by Chinese armed police in Tibet

Front cover of the PAP manual manual on mental health

Front cover of the PAP manual on mental health

TCHRD has received a Chinese language copy of a manual published by the Sichuan Provincial Political Department of the People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF, also called PAP), titled “Guide on Psychiatric Wellbeing While Maintaining Stability” that was circulated among different contingents, detachments and squadrons located at the province, prefecture, and county levels of Sichuan. The manual contains issues raised during a videoconference meeting held by Sichuan Province People’s Armed Police Force regarding the psychological and moral issues arising from stability maintenance work in Tibetan areas. Although the manual was drafted before Xi Jinping’s appointment earlier this year, there is no sign that he will change any of his predecessor’s policies regarding Tibet. [Read more...]

Longlife prayers for Dalai Lama removed, ban on phonecalls with outsiders

Chinese officials scraped off a longlife prayer for Dalai Lama carved on a rockface near the besieged Nyatso Zilkar Monastery in Tridu (Ch: Chenduo) County in Kyegudo (Ch: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

According to information received by TCHRD, the incident happened soon after the 54th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan national uprising on 10 March when monks carved on the nearby rockface a prayer that Tibetan Buddhists recite for the long life of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
[Read more...]

Tibetan farmer escapes imminent arrest for sharing religious texts

Ugyen Lhundup, 57, was a farmer at Thangka Village in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Township in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. In 1999, he came to India and lived for some time to study Buddhism. In 2001, after attending the Kalachakra teachings at Bodh Gaya in the north Indian state of Bihar, he returned to Tibet taking along some CDs and books containing religious teachings, which he shared with others on requests from friends and relatives. He also made free copies of the CDs and distributed them among his social circle. It was then that he became a prime target for supervision and surveillance. On 21 October 2012, to escape imminent arrest, he left his house and farm in the care of his neighbor, and secretly left Tibet and reached India on 15 December 2012. Ugyen Lhundup shares his ordeal:

“In 2002, the head of County Public Security Bureau officer, Loga, summoned me at his office. At the PSB office, the officer confiscated my passport and threatened me with five to six months’ detention, if I did not stop questioning the confiscation of my passport. I was let go but without my passport.  [Read more...]