In early September, Chinese authorities in Ngaba County, eastern Tibet, detained five Tibetans from Gomang Monastery following their opposition to the construction of new homes near their monastery.
The monks unsuccessfully petitioned the local authorities to cancel the construction of the proposed housing estate.
Tibet Watch, Free Tibet’s research partner, received a video showing a large number of Tibetan monks voicing their concerns at the site to a Chinese official.
In the video, a monk tells the official that the authorities have ignored the objections they had made over the preceding ten days. In response, the monks were asked to send five representatives to discuss the group’s concerns at a district committee.
It is unconfirmed who these delegates were and if they are the same monks who were later arrested.
The names of the five Tibetans detained are Nyida, Kelsang, Nesang, Choeje (their former chant master) and Shakya (abbot of the monastery). Shakya was released after being held for two days while the others remain in custody.
Gomang monastery is one of the most strictly monitored Tibetan monasteries in Ngaba.
In March 2015, when Chinese authorities forced monasteries in the region to fly the Chinese flag, monks from Gomang protested by holding up photos of the Dalai Lama – an act of defiance that attracted the support of locals.
Prior to this, in September 2013, the monastery’s monks organised a prayer session after a fatal self-immolation protest took place nearby. This resulted in the Chinese authorities increasing surveillance and forbidding the monks from participating in the funeral session.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch.
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