Detentions continue as China cracks down on self-immolation

Lobsang Sangyak

A close cousin of a monk who died of self-immolation was among the two detained recently by Chinese security personnel in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

Both Tibetans, a monk and a layman, remain “missing” after they were arbitrarily detained on 27 August in separate incidents, a source tells TCHRD, quoting local Tibetans in the area.

Lobsang Sangyal, around 22, was detained on the night of 28 August from his residence at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba. Sangyal was a close cousin of monk Lobsang Kelsang, 18, who on 27 August died of self-immolation protest. Sangyal hails from Raruwa nomadic village in Ngaba County.

Jayang Khyenkho, 60, was also detained from his home on 28 August for unknown reasons. He belongs to Bharmatsang family at Kanyag nomadic village in Totsig Township, Ngaba County, the same source tells TCHRD quoting local Tibetans in the area.

Jayang was apparently detained on the suspicion that he had contacted individuals outside Tibet, according to the same source. However, it is unclear on what charges he was detained. He has a wife and three children, two sons and a daughter.

The same source, quoting local eyewitnesses, said that security personnel, particularly the People’s Armed Police (PAP), are on round-the-clock vigil having surrounded Kirti Monastery, the site of most number of immolations, on all sides.

Eyewitness accounts speak of signs that local authorities plan to station security forces in the area for the long haul. “New structures are being built around the monastery to house the armed police,” the same source said. However, the source added, “At present, armed police are not putting too much restrictions on the movement of monks and local people and they also don’t conduct random searches.”

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