News continues to pour in from Tibet of the alleged Chinese oppression of the traditional Tibetan community there. On Friday in New Delhi, a Tibetan human rights group and a clutch of Tibetan monks spoke of a recent clamp-down of the Chinese security forces in Kirti monastery in eastern Tibet in which they said at least four local Tibetans have died and about 400 monks detained. “The Chinese media and the foreign ministry have been saying there is no clamp-down in the Kirti monastery area but the situation is very grave,” said Mr. Tenzin.
The Aba county in western China where the Kirti monastery is located has been tense following the self-immolation attempt and death of the monastery’s 20-year-old monk, Phuntsok, in mid-March, according to Tibetan human rights groups in exile . They said Phuntsok’s self-immolation was in protest against Beijing, and to mark the third anniversary of a March 2008 by Tibetans. His death reignited local anger against the authorities, they said. The Tibetans, who are mostly Buddhist, feel their religious freedom and ethnic identity is at threat and that they are economically marginalized under Communist Chinese rule. Beijing, for its part, maintains it has spent tens of billions of dollars for the locals’ upliftment.
According to the chronicle of events provided by Mr. Tenzin and the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, based in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala, the situation at Kirti started getting extremely tense around April 12 when Chinese security forces locked down the monastery and put restrictions on the movement of the monks. On the night of April 21, the Kirti monk and the Tibetan activists say 10 military trucks arrive at the monastery and forcibly took away 300 monks to a detention camp at an undisclosed location. One old man and a woman died while trying to prevent the security forces from taking the monks away. Several monks have earlier been detained and their whereabouts are still not known.