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Four monks imprisoned following self-immolations PDF Print E-mail
[22 January 2013] Four monks from Tsodun monastery in eastern Tibet have been given long prison sentences by the Chinese government. The sentences, ranging from two years to ten years, are believed to be in connection with self-immolations by three Tsodun monks in 2012, though the official charges have not been made public by the authorities.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the four monks were sentenced in mid-January in Barkham Intermediate Peoples Court in Barkham (Ch: Maerkang), Ngaba (Ch: Aba) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Sichuan province). Namsey, 18, was sentenced to 10 years, Yarphel, 18, was given a six year sentence, Asung, 22, two and a half years, and Lobsang Sangay, 19, two years.

Tsodun monasteryAll four monks were arrested in August 2012 during police raids on Tsodun monastery (pictured right), also known as Gyalrong Tsodun Kirti Monastery located in Barkham county. Lobsang Sangay, Yarphel and Namsey were arrested in their monastic quarters on 12 August, while Asung was detained four days later during a night raid on the monastery. The reasons for their arrest were not known and they were all held incommunicado until their trial.

The condition and whereabouts of two other Tsodun monks, Thupwang Tenzin and Lobsang Rabten, arrested at the same time, remains unknown.

The charges against the four monks are not known, but it is believed they were arrested on suspicion of involvement with three self-immolation protests by Tsodun monks in 2012. On 30 March 2012, Chimey Palden and Tenpa Darjey died after jointly self-immolating outside a Chinese government office in Barkham. On 17 July 2012, Lobsang Lozin died after self-immolating in front of Tsodun monastery's main prayer hall. All three monks are said to have shouted protest slogans as they set fire to themselves.

In recent months, authorities in Tibetan regions have announced punishments for those associated with self-immolations, including families, villages and monasteries. In December, the Chinese government announced that intentional murder should apply to anyone urging Tibetans to set themselves alight.

Further reading: TCHRD I CTA I Tibet Society I Background to self-immolations


Take Action
Write to Mr Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, urging the Chinese government to:

► clarify the charges against Namsey, Yarphel, Asung and Lobsang Sangay (from Tsodun monastery, Barkham county, Aba prefecture, Sichuan province);

► give assurance that the four monks will be not be subject to torture or ill-treatment;

► clarify the condition and whereabouts of Thupwang Tenzin and Lobsang Rabten, Tsodun monks arrested in August 2012;

► release all monks, nuns and lay-people who have been detained and imprisoned for peacefully protesting or arbitrarily arrested, provide independent legal counsel for all those facing charges and allow family visits;

► open Tibetan regions to international scrutiny, in particular allow access to foreign media, humanitarian agencies and independent observers.

Address: Ambassador Liu Xiaoming
Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL
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If you receive a reply from the Ambassador please send a copy to Tibet Society.



Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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