Arrests continue in Tibet as monk is detained on unknown charges

Lobsang Choepel
29th October 2021

Lobsang Choepel, 34, was arbitrarily detained in Ngaba earlier this month

Tibet Watch has learned of the arrest of a Tibetan monk in eastern Tibet earlier this month.

Lobsang Choepel, a 34-year-old Tibetan monk, was arrested in Ngaba County in early October on unknown charges. Details regarding the reason for his arrest, and his present condition, have not been released by authorities.

Born in Ngashi Kayag Village, Ngaba County, to father Rigko and mother Tsering Kyi, Lobsang is the middle child of four siblings. From a young age, he was enrolled at Kirti Monastery - which has acted as a source of ire for the CCP for a number of years, culminating in the monastery being locked down in August 2021 to prevent worshippers celebrating the birthday of Kirti Rinpoche. 

Lobsang was employed in an IT department, as well as being a photographer for Kirti Monastery. Preferring to shoot scenic photographs, he is highly respected for his photographic work, having won numerous photography competitions. When posting his work online he was also known to use the name Riwi Dawao.

This is not the first time Lobsang Choepel has been arrested. Reportedly, he was also detained for more than four months in Ngaba in 2011, and Lhasa in 2008. However, specific details on these previous arrests are unknown.

The news of Lobsang Choepel’s arrest comes amid reports of the mass detention of monks from Kirti Monastery in early October. Severe communications restrictions in the Ngaba region have prevented details on these arrests from being reported, including the names and birthplaces of those imprisoned. 

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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Lobsang Choepel’s arrest mirrors that of Rinchen Kyi, a Tibetan school teacher arrested for inciting separatism in August 2021. Since her arrest, Rinchen Kyi has effectively disappeared, with neither family nor friends, including her 13-year-old daughter, being informed of her whereabouts or wellbeing.

Sign our petition calling for Rinchen Kyi's release.