Monks warned of severe punishments for further protests

Booklet issued to monks in Kirti Monastery
Booklet issued to monks in Kirti Monastery

22nd August 2016

Textbooks distributed to monasteries warn monks about disturbing “social stability”

Authorities have distributed a new legal textbook to monks, warning them against carrying out activities such as street protests and self-immolations. The book claims that such activities “disturb social stability” and will be met with severe punishments.

The textbook is titled “Legal Textbook of Monastic Rules”. It has been issued to all monks in Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery, who have reportedly been told to study it seriously. There have also been reports of the book being distributed across 40 other monasteries in Ngaba. Similar-looking textbooks have also been spotted at a monastery in Dzoege County (Chinese).

In the book, which has been published in Chinese and Tibetan, monks are warned against carrying out self-immolation protests and street protests, because they "disturb social stability". It adds that such crimes would be severely punished.

Other offences listed include the sending of local information to the outside world. This, according to the book, is equivalent to leaking state secrets. Tibetans continue to send testimonies, images and video of life under the occupation to the outside world through social media and mobile phone apps such as WeChat, the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp.

A hotbed of protest

The issuing of the textbooks follows a spate of solo protests by Tibetans over the past year. Many of those that have carried out the protests are monks from Ngaba. Earlier this month Jamphe Gyatso, a monk from Kirti Monastery, was sentenced to three years in prison for carrying out a solo protest in 2015. During the protest, Jamphel Gyatso held a portrait of the Dalai Lama and walked through the main street of Ngaba, shouting slogans such as “Freedom in Tibet' and 'Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama'. He was arrested within minutes by armed police and taken away.

Almost identical protests have been carried out by other Tibetan monks over the past year. Fellow Kirti resident Losang Thubten is still missing and presumed in detention after carrying out such a protest in May. Other residents of Ngaba that have carried out similar protests include Tashi Dhondup and Lobsang Tsering, both of whom are in an unknown location awaiting trial.

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