Tibetan Monk is Beaten, Detained Following Solitary Protest

A Tibetan monk living in western China’s Sichuan province was beaten and detained by police this week after he launched a solo protest calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, sources said.

Gendun Phuntsok, 18, launched his protest at about noon on March 8 on the main street of Ngaba town in the Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing local sources.

Carrying a large photo of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader above his head, Phuntsok “shouted slogans calling for the Dalai Lama’s return,” the source, Kanyak Tsering, said.

“He also demanded freedom and equality for Tibetans, saying that Chinese policies in the region have caused intolerable suffering.”

“After a short time, Chinese police arrived on the scene and took him into custody, beating him severely,” Tsering said.

No word was immediately available on Phuntsok’s present condition or whereabouts, but Tsering’s account of the young monk’s protest and detention was confirmed by Tibetan sources in Ngaba writing on social media.

Phuntsok, a native of Ngaba county’s Cha village, had been ordained as a young boy at Ngaba’s restive Kirti monastery, Tsering said.

His father’s name is Tragya and mother’s name is Rikgo, he added.

Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.

Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said in earlier reports.

Reported by Lhuboom, Sonam Lhamo, and Rigdhen Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee and Rigdhen Dolma. Written in English by Richard Finney.