The Chinese authorities have stepped up an unprecedented repression in Rong Gonchen Monastery in Rebkong County (Ch: Tongren Xian), after yesterday’s protest, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Rong Gonchen Monastery is an important Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Rebkong County, Malho (Ch: Huangnan) “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”, Qinghai Province.

In light of the peaceful protest on 17 April by a group of 22 monks from Rong Gonchen in Rebkong County market, and arrests of over one hundred protesters in the afternoon, the situation has been tense and volatile following the crackdown by the Chinese security forces.

According to fresh development of situation in Rong Gonchen Monastery in Rebkong, the Chinese authorities are not allowing anyone to meet the arrested Tibetans in detention centres. Multiple sources confirm that 80-year-old Alak Khasutsang, a former chief of Rong Gonchen Monastery, who tried to diffuse the tension between the Tibetan demonstrators and the Chinese security forces on 17 April has reportedly sustained severe head injury during the police crackdown and was said to be in a critical condition. He was also known to be suffering from a high blood pressure. One source reported that he was taken to a hospital in Xining City for treatment. However, there was no exact information about his current whereabouts.

Another monk, Geshe Tenzin Choephel, 50 years old resident of Xining City and teacher of Qinghai University for Nationalities, who was in Rong Gonchen Monastery at the time of raid in the monastery on 17 April was known to have been arrested for unknown reason. There is no information on his whereabouts at the moment.

Moreover, on 17 April, around 6 PM (Beijing Standard Time), scores of Chinese armed security forces raided monks’ houses in Rong Gonchen Monastery. During the raid, the Chinese armed security forces forcibly flushed out the monks from their houses to the monastery’s courtyard and were made to kneel down with hands behind their head. The Chinese security forces threatened the monks at gunpoint. In the raids, the Chinese security forces seized all photos of the Dalai Lama found in the monks’ rooms.

The sources also told TCHRD that a dozen of the Chinese security forces in full combat gear were armed with guns. The Rong Gonchen Monastery has been under a severe restriction, and the monks were isolated from each other without any form of interaction amongst them. Since yesterday, armed Chinese security forces have been keeping a close vigil in the monks’ rooms.

Sources say that at present, a severe restriction on the movement of monks is still continuing in Rong Gonchen Monastery. There is no information about exact number of monks arrested by the Chinese security forces.

The Chinese authorities have issued terse warning to the monks about leaking the information to the outside world following the severe crackdown by the Chinese authorities. TCHRD expresses serious concern over the condition of the arrested monks and calls upon the authorities to immediately lift the restriction imposed in Rong Monastery.