A five-day stand-off between monks and armed police at a Tibetan monastery in western China could become “explosive”, the Dalai Lama has warned.
The Tibetan spiritual leader also asked the international community to request that Chinese authorities show restraint in the confrontation at Kirti monastery in Sichuan, where police have reportedly locked down the complex with up to 2,500 monks inside.
The International Campaign for Tibet said hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the monastery in Aba county, also known as Ngaba, believing the authorities were preparing to forcibly remove the monks for “patriotic education”. Exiles allege that security forces beat residents and loosed dogs on them as they forced their way through the crowds on Tuesday, injuring two women in their sixties. The re-education campaign was reportedly launched after a young monk from Kirti died after setting fire to himself in protest against Chinese rule on March 16.
English language state media have mentioned the death but have not referred to the clash at the monastery, and the Guardian has not been able to confirm it independently.
A spokeswoman at the Aba local government office said she knew nothing about the situation. But the United States has raised concerns about the confrontation with Beijing.
“I am very concerned that this situation if allowed to go on may become explosive with catastrophic consequences for the Tibetans in Ngaba,” the Dalai Lama said late yesterday. “I urge both the monks and the lay Tibetans of the area not to do anything that might be used as a pretext by the local authorities to massively crack down on them.