Scores of nuns arrested in Kandze county, Sichuan province, following protests

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Press Release - May 15, 2008 .

Free Tibet Campaign has learned that protests have swept through Kandze county in Sichuan province in recent days following the detention on April 23 of two nuns from Drakar nunnery. The nuns have been named as Bumo Lhaga and Sonam Dekyi. They were arrested for calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Sources have told Free Tibet Campaign that 10 nuns from the Gaden Choeling nunnery in Kandze county were arrested on May 12 after protesting against the detention of the two nuns on April 23. The nuns arrested on May 12 have been named as: Botsun, Trinley Sonam Yangtso, Tamdrin Tsekyi (36), Lhamo Choekyi (44), Dekyi, Bumo Yangkyi (21) – all from Serchu township in Kandze county – and Champa Lhamo, Trinley and Bumo Taga – all from Karak town in Kandze county.

Radio Free Asia has also reported the arrest of nuns on May 12, saying that 14 nuns were arrested.

Elsewhere in Kandze county Papal (a former nun from Drakar nunnery) and Lagruk, also from Drakar nunnery, were detained on May 7 for taking part in earlier protests. On May 11 Thubten Dolma and Sonam Lhamo (both of Drakar nunnery) were also arrested after scattering flyers in Kandze town. The flyers called for the return of the Dalai Lama, according to the sources.

On May 13 three monks from the Trehor monastery in Kandze county protested in Kandze town. The monks shouted slogans calling for a Free Tibet and scattered flyers also calling for a Free Tibet. The monks were arrested and it is unknown where they are detained. The monks have been named as: Lobsang Thonpa, 20 from Serchu township, Kandze county; Palden Tsultrim, 19 and also of Serchu township, Kandze township; and Lobsang Choeje, 19 and from Thingka township in Kandze county.

According to the sources, further protests broke out the next day (May 14) in Khandze town. Six nuns from the Gaden Choeling nunnery were initially involved in the protest. The protesters shouted “Long Live the Dalai Lama!” Police stepped in immediately to stop the protest and when the police beat the nuns, a Tibetan man charged into the crowd to defend the nuns. He was also arrested. The Tibetan man was named as Serga from Gonpashab town in Khandze county. The Gaden Choeling nuns were named as: Dorje Khadol from Damdo township; Champa Lhadon from Serkham township; Pema Lhamo from Serkham township; Choetso from Damdo township; Gyal-ho from Damdo township; Yeshi Choetso from Damdo township.

Sources have also told Free Tibet Campaign that on May 14 at around 5pm Beijing time, around 76 nuns from the Pungrina nunnery in Kandze county staged a protest. The nuns gathered on the street linking Kandze monastery to the County police station and shouted slogans: “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama!” and “We want freedom!” 52 nuns were arrested by the police and the whereabouts of a further 19 nuns at the protest remain unknown.

The sources revealed that Pungrina, situated 4km from Kandze town, is a nunnery which is home to 87 nuns. Following the protests and arrests there were only 16 nuns left in the nunnery.

End

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

Notes:

For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788456