Tibetan disappeared in Nagchu County, Tibet

25th March 2015

Heavy surveillance and harassment in Tibetan monasteries

Ngawang Gyaltsen was secretly arrested by China’s authorities during the night on 24th February 2015. Fellow Tibetans had no information about his condition or his whereabouts but later discovered that he was taken to Nagchu Town. No reasons have been given about the 41-year-old’s arrest. Local Tibetans believe it is due to political motives.


Ngawang Gyaltsen, from Tarchen Township, Nagchu County, had previously been a monk at Shag Rongpo monastery, where he studied thangka (Buddhist) painting and was a well-known artist. But disagreements with the Chinese government officials at the monastery, who were running a re-education campaign for the monks and nuns, led to the officials harassing and keeping heavy surveillance on him, leading him to leave the monastery. Authorities continued to harass Gyaltsen, who was not allowed to travel or meet with friends and family without government authorization.

Surveillance and harassment

In a recent post, High Peaks Pure Earth translated an official notice issued by China's police, instructing Tibetans in Amdo, Tibet, to install cameras to monitor themselves and warned that if restaurants, shops and hotels don't do so, they will be fined RMB 10,000 ($1610.55).

Nagchu County

Previously police stations sent notices outlining ways to monitor and control movements of Tibetans from Nagchu Prefecture, following peaceful protesters being shot and severely injured earlier that month. The notice included the instruction to “increasingly interrogate suspicious people from Nagchu”.

Take Action

Tibetans in Tibet are constantly under surveillance and any form of cultural assertion, even singing Tibetan songs, is seen by China as “illegal” and heavily punished. Read more about our Free Tibet’s Jailed Musicians campaign and sign our petition.