China detains abbot and senior monk for participation in prayer service for His Holiness’ health

DHARAMSALA, Feb 12: Chinese authorities have arbitrarily detained two high-ranking Tibetan Buddhists monks of Chogri monastery in Drango county, Kardze Prefecture in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham for their participation in a prayer ceremony held at the monastery for the good health and well-being of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, according to a report by the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

Citing reliable sources, the Tibetan rights group said the two senior monks, identified as Khenpo (abbot) Pagah and Geshe Orgyen, were ‘recently detained after a mass prayer ceremony was organized on Jan 25 by both the monastic and lay community in Tehor Township in Drango County’.

An undated photo of Khenpo Pagah. Photo courtesy: TCHRD
An undated photo of Khenpo Pagah. Photo courtesy: TCHRD

Both Khenpo Pagah and Geshe Orgyen had completed their religious education in south India before returning to Tibet. Khenpo Pagah, who is known to be nearly 40 years old and hails from Tsogo Township in Drango County completed his religious education from Drepung monastery in Mundgod while Geshe Orgyen, who is about 50 years old and was born in Tehor Township completed his studies from Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe in the Indian state of Karnataka.

The prayer service was held following media reports that His Holiness was receiving treatment for a common prostate condition at Mayo Clinic in the United States.

TCHRD said the two monks were most likely detained in the first week of February, although its source could not confirm the exact date.

According to the Tibetan rights group’s report, following the prayer service the local authorities on Jan 31 issued an order banning the display of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s photos in shops and places where crowds gather.

Geshe Orgyen in an undated photo. Photo courtesy: TCHRD
Geshe Orgyen in an undated photo. Photo courtesy: TCHRD

“The order signed by four different local offices including the Drango County Cultural Tourism Bureau, Drango County Public Security Bureau and County Religious Affairs Bureau further announced that display of the Dalai Lama’s photos sends the wrong message to the masses and called for mandatory submission of all photos of Dalai Lama by 2 February,” TCHRD said, adding “Those defying the order would be dealt with severely, according to the order.”

TCHRD further noted that following the detention of the senior monks of Chogri Monastery, local authorities have deployed a large number of Chinese security forces to monitor and control both the monastic and lay community in Tehor.





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