February 10, 2014
A huge crowd of hundreds of Tibetans gathered peacefully at a prayer festival in eastern Tibet last week to call for the release of a respected Tibetan lama who was imprisoned in December and may face criminal charges. The gathering followed a rare silent vigil outside a prison on January 15 to protest the detention of Khenpo (abbot) Kartse (Karma Tsewang), indicating the strength of concern about the popular monk, who is said to be seriously ill in prison with a liver condition (ICT report, Rare vigil outside prison to support popular Tibetan monk).
The latest protest occurred on the last day, February 6, of a five-day prayer festival (Monlam) held at Japa monastery in Nangchen (Chinese: Nanqian) county in Qinghai’s Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The Tibetans, from Nangchen and surrounding areas in the Tibetan region of Kham, gathered for a peaceful sit-in protest from 10 am until 3 pm “to express their indignation and disappointment at the lack of clear explanations from authorities on the status of Khenpo Kartse,” a Tibetan source told Radio Free Asia (RFA, Thousands of Tibetans Pressure Monastery to Push for Monk’s Release). The crowd dispersed after they were assured that the people’s concerns would be addressed “in a few days”.