Ngaba Kirti Monastery Under Lockdown Following Protests

Phuntsok set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. He succumbed to his injuries at 3AM (Beijing time) on March 17, 2011

China has worsened crackdown in the Tibetan area of Ngaba, Sichuan, following the self immolation and death of a young monk called Phuntsog on March 16.

According to Tibetan exile sources, monks from Kirti Monastery are prevented from leaving the monastery and observing religious rituals.

The monks are facing shortage of food and the authorities have prohibited the local Tibetans from offering food to monks, according to Kirti monks in exile.

33 people were arrested since the protests following Phuntsok’s self-immolation which coincidend with the third anniversary of violent protests against Chinese rule in Tibet. 11 people have been released and 22 (8 monks and 16 civilians) continue to be under detention according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy based in Dharamsala, India.

The authorities have launched a stringent patriotic education campaign at Kirti since Phuntsok's protest and the subsequent show of solidarity by the monks at Kirti monastery, according to Kirti monks in exile.

There are fears that tension in Ngaba will escalate and worsen further if the current crackdown is not eased. Tibetan groups are calling on the international community and human rights groups to intervene and stop China's security clampdown.

Kirti monastery, founded in 1472 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa, is one of the most important in the area. More than 2,500 monks reportedly live in the monastery.