Armed Police Suppress Over 1,000 Monks in Zhaibung Monastery, Tibet

October 24, 2007 Updated: October 24, 2007

A confronation between monks in Zhaibung Monastery and the police broke out on October 17. Four days after the confrontation, the largest monastery in Lhasa, Tibet is still sealed off with over 1,000 monks and dozens of pilgrims inside. Over 3,000 armed police have surrounded the monastery.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Ends Celebrations for Dalai Lama's Award

According to the Central News Agency's (CAN) report, on October 16, monks in the monastery attempted to celebrate inside the monastery President Bush giving the Dalai Lama a Congressional Gold Medal on the 17th. Authorities put a halt to the celebrations.

On the morning of the 17th, after the monks chanted Buddhist scriptures in the Coqen Hall, they attempted to hold another celebration. A confrontation ensued when armed officers injured a monk in the head trying to stop the celebration. About 900 monks were involved and there were about 350 armed officers inside and about 1,000 outside the monastery at the time. The monks were not allowed to leave the monastery. The military blocked traffic west of Lhasa leading into the downtown to prevent the monks going downtown to protest.

It was reported that there was confrontation between civilians and police in Neqoin Monastery, an affiliate monastery outside the walls of Zhaibung Monastery. Some people said the police shot at people in the street of Lhasa but those in the Temple claimed they didn't hear any gunfire.

Martial Law Enforced in Lhasa

The CNA's report said martial law is being enforced in Lhasa. Many check points were set up on roads leading into the downtown. A large surveillance camera was set up on top of a building across the street from Jokhang Temple to monitor the situation around the temple and on its square. A large number of police cars stand near the square. It was believed that the martial law will last until the CCP's 17th Congress is over.

Zhaibung Monastery is located in a suburb west of Lhasa and is the biggest monastery in Tibet. The number of monks in the monastery once exceeded 10,000. Galden Phobrang inside the monastery is the residence of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Dalai Lamas. The 5th Dalai Lama later established the Galden Phobrang regime and moved to the Potala Palace. This regime ruled Tibet until 1959 when the 14th Dalia Lama fled to India.