Kardze nuns update

Monday, 19 May 2008

On 15 May Free Tibet Campaign reported the arrest of 52 nuns in Kardze town on 14 May. The 15 May press release can be seen here.

Free Tibet Campaign has now been able to gain further information on the circumstances that led to the mass protest by nuns from the Pangrina nunnery in Kardze county, as well as the identity of those arrested. We have now learned that 54 nuns were arrested on May 14, rather than 52 as reported in our press release of May 15.

According to very reliable sources, work teams of local government officials have been implementing “patriotic re-education” sessions at the Pangrina Tashi Gephel Ling Nunnery since March and the start of the Tibetan protests. At the sessions, officials from the work teams demanded that the nuns denounce the Dalai Lama for masterminding the protests. It was also demanded that the nuns sign a document vilifying the Dalai Lama as a separatist.

The nuns decided unanimously that they would rather die than denounce the Dalai Lama, according to the sources. The nuns held a secret meeting at which it was decided they would stage a peaceful protest against the Chinese government.

At around 5pm Beijing time on May 14 the nuns entered Kardze town from two different directions: one group from the Shurilung area and the other from the Degonpo area. They shouted slogans: “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama!”, “The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet!” and “We want freedom!” They scattered flyers as they chanted the slogans. As the nuns approached the police station they were beaten and arrested. The sources told Free Tibet Campaign that 54 nuns were arrested and that witnesses saw blood on the street following the beatings. Some of the nuns’ robes and shoes were also left lying on the ground after the nuns had been bundled into a police van. According to the sources, the nuns continued to shout slogans and scatter flyers as they were driven away.

The whereabouts of a further 19 nuns at the protest remain unknown.

End

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign