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Tibet : Monks at a monastery besieged by Chinese police are running out of food
Tensions were running high on Monday at besieged Kirti monastery, where Chinese security forces are enforcing a lockdown in an attempt to get hundreds of monks to move out.The siege of the monastery, which is home to some 2,500 Tibetan monks, was sparked by the death of a monk last month in a self-immolation protest against Beijing’s rule.”If any of the monks leave, they will be detained and returned [to the monastery],” said a Tibetan resident of Ngaba, who asked to remain anonymous.”There were [some detained],” he added. “If any of those monks come out without an identity card, they get taken away.”
“They want to take those monks away somewhere and have them study, but their relatives don’t want them to go,” he said.
He said monks inside Kirti were still very short of food.
Strong police presence
A number of monks had left the monastery by disguising themselves as ethnic Han Chinese, though some were discovered and detained by local police, the Tibetan resident said.
“They are being taken to a local jail, where they check to see if they had anything [to do with the protests],” he said. “They lock them up for many days.”
A second Tibetan resident confirmed there was still a strong police presence around the town and monastery.
“Yes, [they are still surrounding it],” he said. “There are dozens of police on each street.”
A Tibetan named Tsering living in exile in Dharamsala said nearly 800 government employees were involved in the campaign.
“The monks were forced stand alone in the middle of the group and subjected to grueling interrogation sessions,” he said.
Previous campaigns have required participants to denounce the Dalai Lama and pledge allegiance to China’s ruling Communist Party.
Exile Tibetans with links to Kirti said local officials had visited the monastery and warned monks that they could face closure or destruction of the monastery.
Monks are currently being confined to their dormitories after 8 p.m., with beatings for any found breaking the curfew, the paper said.
Around 300 local people had signed a petition vowing to protect the monks with their lives, with officials intervening to stop the signing process because of gathering crowds lining up to sign.