Tashi Lhunpo monks continue to face harrasment

Monks in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery are still not free from harrasment by the Chinese Officials. Strict vigillence is observed over the entire administration of the Monastery. Monks who show allegiance to the Chinese government have a better possibilty of being appointed in place of those who oppose the Chinese authorities presence in the monastery. Two monks of Tashi Lhunpo recently escaped to Dharamsala, India in July 1997. Upon their arrival they accounted on the present condition of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.

“Since 1995, hundreds of Chinese have arrived in the monastery to systematically carry out political re-education campaign. The primary aim of the education session is to directly oppose H.H the Dalai Lama and Chardral Rinpoche, the Chinese appointed head of the search committee who is now in prison and the Panchen lama reincarnate recognised by H.H the Dalai Lama. In case we refuse to pledge such political vows we face the threat of being heavily punished or taken to prison where atrocious tortures are carried out by the Chinese authorities.

At present Phuntsok, the deputy head of the democratic management committee of the monastery, is held in detention since July 1995. Tendor, a monk of Gyupa sub monastery, a branch monastery of Tashi Lhunpo monastery was arrested on the night of 13 July, 1995. He is now kept incommunicado in Ngari prison in Shigatse.

Also Gyatrul Jampa Tenzin, Chairman of Monastery Democratic Disciplinary committee was arrested and taken to prison on the night of 13 July 1995, he was beaten indiscriminately while being taken to the prison. He is now kept in a secluded cell where no one is allowed to have contact with him. He is physically permanently disordered as a result of series of torture inflicted on him. Upon his release from prison on 7 March, 1997, he was expelled from the monastery, allowing only three hours to pack up his belonging. He now lives in his native town Lhatse.

Personal secretary of the previous Panchen lama, Ven. Thupten Kalsang was expelled from monastery after being imprisoned for one year. He lives now in Shigatse area. Many such cases of imprisonment followed by expulsion from the monastery is as follows :

16-year-old Lobsang Tsultrim, 25-year-old Gedhun, 27-year-old Sonam Phuntsok, 17-year-old Lhakpa Tsering, 28-year-old Chemi Tsering, 24-year-old Tseshon Chungdak, 21-year-old Lobsang Gyatso, 27-year-old Tsering Gonpo, and 25-year-old Gelong. They were all expelled from the monastery after levying a fine of 3500 to 4700 yuan from each individual. They are now no longer allowed to wear the traditional monk’s robe.

For any religious prayers to be conducted in lay houses, they are reqiured to obtain a pass from the Chinese authorities. Furthermore, those who are expelled are debarred from joining any school, monastery or government offices.

Unable to live in such a restrained situation, Penpa, personal attendant to the previous Panchen Lama died of heart failure. He could not bear to see such atrocities inflicted upon the monks.

In mid April, 1997, Ngagchen Lobsang Chodak, the abbot of Sangchen Gyudpa monastery, a sub-monastery of the larger Tashi Lhunpo monastery, was expelled from the monastery. Upon his expulsion he was kept in the house of the previous Panchen Lama in Shigatse under strict surveillance of the Public Security Bureau where he was denied any contact with the public. Nganchen Lobsang Chodak is now 67 years old.

In his position, Tsering, Deputy chairman of the monastery management committee who is “loyal”, and display positive allegiance of the Chinese Communist Party was appointed. Tsering’s appointment was met with vehement opposition from the monks which was crushed with threats by the Police.

Gyatrul Jampel Tenzin, Nganchen Lobsang Lobsang Chodak, Phuntsok and Thupten Kalsang are all amongst the 8-member Chinese-appointed search committee headed by Chadral Rinpoche.

“At present nine-member work team are still in the monastery. They conduct education sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays. They hold classes dividing the monks into four to five different groups from 4 pm to 7.30 pm. In this session we are ordered to oppose H.H the Dalai lama and Panchen lama reincarnate recognised by H.H the Dalai lama. Besides this regular sessions, we would be suddenly called for a general meeting. Such sessions prove extremely disturbing and damaging for our general religious study.

“The present administration of the monastery is looked and controlled by the Shigatse Religious Department. This department appoints management of the monastery through the process of secret ballot. However, the list of the candidates are already selected by the Chinese authorities in Shigatse. The general monks of the monastery has no say in the administration of the monastery.”

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