Home BREAKING NEWS China imposes lockdown on seven monasteries in Kham Dege

China imposes lockdown on seven monasteries in Kham Dege

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Wontod Monastery in eastern Tibet’s Kham Dege (Photo/X)

By Tenzin Nyidon

Chinese authorities have imposed lockdown on seven monasteries situated along the two banks of eastern Tibet’s Drichu River in Kham Dege, reported Radio Free Asia, which cited a local Tibetan source from the region.

The seven monasteries restricted by the lockdown, include Wontod, Yena, and Khardho monasteries on the east bank of the river in Dege, and Rabten, Gonsar, Tashi, and Pharok monasteries on the west bank of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Entry and exit in these monasteries have been severely restricted, with clamp down on movement and communication channels in the county.

Over February 22-23, more than 1,000 monks and local Tibetans were reportedly arrested following petitions and protests since February 14, urging authorities to halt a proposed construction of a massive dam project. While approximately 40 monks were released on February 26 and 27, the majority remain under arrest, undergoing brutal treatment.

The released individuals were primarily from Wontod Monastery, as reported by local Tibetan sources. These individuals have reportedly been warned against communicating with exile Tibetans and giving out information on the incident. Sources suggest that international media coverage of the mass arrests played a significant role in prompting the release of some Tibetans. Monks who required hospitalisation due to severe interrogation beatings were allowed to return to their monastery.

The construction of the Chinese Gangtuo Hydropower Station, planned for the upper reaches of the Drichu River in Tibet, poses grave threat to numerous Tibetan monasteries and villages nearby. This cascade hydropower station, deemed a “leading” project, endangers at least six Tibetan monasteries and two villages inhabited by Tibetan communities. Among those at risk of complete submersion due to the project is Wontod Monastery, established in the 14th century and known for its historical importance and remarkable Tibetan Buddhist murals and artworks.