China imprisons 2500 Tibetan monks pending their ‘patriotic re-education’

[Shon Connery, China News Contributor]

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, is warning the international community that the present stand-off between monks and armed police at a monastery in western China is likely to result in a serious conflict situation with many fatalities. He is asking the international community to prevail upon China to show restraint at the Kirti monastery in Sichuan where the police have imprisoned over 2500 monks.

The International Campaign for Tibet , a website promoting Tibetan causes, reports that several Tibetans had attended the vicinity of the monastery in Aba county, fearing that the police would take the monks by force and imprison them elsewhere for “patriotic education”.  Observers are saying that the Chinese police had beaten up attendees and residents and had sought to control them with dogs. Two elderly women were seriously injured by the police.

It seems that the Chinese authorities are keen to re-educate the monks following a recent incident when a junior monk in the area died from setting fire to himself as a gesture of defiance against the rule of the Chinese.

The Dalia Lama,who lives in exile in India is accused by the Chinese of trying to divide Tibet from China, but he has always said that he only seeks ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibet.   Guardian.co.uk reports him as saying yesterday: “I am very concerned that this situation if allowed to go on may become explosive with catastrophic consequences for the Tibetans in Ngaba…I urge both the monks and the lay Tibetans of the area not to do anything that might be used as a pretext by the local authorities to massively crack down on them.. I also strongly urge the international community, the governments around the world, and the international non-governmental organisations to persuade the Chinese leadership to exercise restraint in handling this situation.”

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