Dharamsala, May 09, 2011: Concerned about the current unrest at Kirti Monastery in the Tibetan area of Ngaba in Sichuan province, His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, presided over a special prayer session on May 4th, which was organized by twelve different organizations based in Dharamasala. Today, he reiterated “I join His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Eminence Kyabche Kirti Rinpoche in their appeal to the Central Chinese Government and the international community to peacefully resolve the current crisis in Ngaba,” he said.
Ngaba region in Western China where the Kirti monastery is located has been tense following the self-immolation attempt and death of the monastery’s 20-year-old monk, Phuntsok, in mid-March. Phuntsok’s self-immolation was said to be in protest against Beijing, and to mark the third anniversary of a March 2008 by Tibetans. Most recently, two monks have been sentenced for participating in the peaceful protests. Chinese security forces and police continue to blockade the monastery.
In a recent press meet in New Delhi on May 2nd, His Holiness said, “frequent peaceful protests carried out by the Tibetans are symptoms of a broken and wounded people desperately crying out for the restoration of their cultural identity, religious and human rights.”
The Tibetans, who are mostly Buddhist, feel their religious freedom and ethnic identity is under threat and that they are economically marginalized under Communist Chinese rule. Reports have stated that the ongoing military siege of Kirti Monastery, the arrest of over 300 monks, and the death of two elderly local residents in police beatings have increased fears that if the authorities did not abandon use of force, the situation may deteriorate into full-scale violence costing lives of hundreds of unarmed and innocent Tibetans.
After a long quiet period, His Holiness recently broke his silence in New Delhi where he appealed for peace at Kirti Monastery and neighboring areas. He thanked the Indian Government of India for giving him refuge since his arrival here in January 2000. “I am not a Chinese spy, agent or plant in India. Tibet is under Communist China’s totalitarian regime and, unlike democratic India; there is no religious freedom there. Many Tibetans, including the illustrious heads of the different sects of Tibetan Buddhism had to flee to India following the Cultural Revolution. India is my home now and I would never do anything against the interest of the country or her people,” he pointed out.
Recently, he added “historically, India and Tibet share the bonds of religion, culture, language, and genuine friendship. Tibetans will never forget that India has generously given shelter to us during our greatest storm.”
The Karmapa is the Head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and a luminary figure followed by millions of Buddhists around the world.
Spokespersons for the Karmapa Office of Administration