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Senior monk from Driru beaten to death in custody PDF Print E-mail
[19 December 2013] A senior Tibetan monk died in custody on 17 December following his arrest whilst visiting Lhasa. Ngawang Jamyang's family said his body showed clear signs that he had been beaten to death. Ngawang Jamyang was from Driru, Tibet Autonomous Region, where the Chinese authorities have instigated a major security crackdown after a series of protests by local Tibetans.

Ngawang JamyangNgawang Jamyang
(pictured right) was arrested on 23 November along with two other monks whilst on vacation in Lhasa. The reason for their detention is not known. All three monks were from Tarmoe monastery in Driru (Chinese: Biru) county, which is located approximately 300km north-east of Lhasa, in the Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) prefecture of Kham (now incorporated into China's Tibet Autonomous Region).

According to a source quoted by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Ngawang Jamyang died in custody on 17 December and his body was immediately handed over to his family. The source said, It was clear that Ngawang Jamyang was beaten to death while in secret detention. He was a healthy, robust man when he left his monastery to visit Lhasa."

Kelsang ChoklangThe condition and whereabouts of the other two monks arrested along with Ngawang are not known. One monk has been identified as Kelsang Choklang (pictured right), the other monk has yet to be identified.

Ngawang Jamyang, 45, was a senior Buddhist master and scholar. In 2008 he was imprisoned for two years for "leaking state secrets". After his release he returned to monastic life teaching Buddhist Dialectics at Tarmoe and Choeling monasteries in Driru. He was also known for his social welfare work and mediating disputes in the local community.

Following the arrest of the three monks in November, Tarmoe monastery was closed and the monastery and nearby villages placed under lockdown by Chinese security forces. Eight monks from nearby Rabten monastery are also reported to have been detained, however, the reason for their detention is not known, nor their whereabouts or condition.

Driru has been under a major security crackdown since protests broke out in September after residents refused official orders to fly Chinese flags from their homes. The security crackdown includes the censoring and blocking of communication channels, in an effort by the Chinese government to stop the spread of news about the protests and subsequent repressive measures.

Further reading: TCHRD (19 Dec) I RFA (13 Dec)

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