14th January 2022
Tenzin Norbu (L) and Wangchen Nyima (R)
The arrests of Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima last August have only recently come to light
The detention of two monks in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture last August has recently been revealed.
Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima, a pair of brothers from Neneng Monastery in Drago County, were arrested on 15 August 2021. They continue to be held in a detention centre in Tawu County.
No details have been released regarding the reason for their arrests or their current condition. Local authorities have prevented their family members from visiting them during their detention. Sources who were aware of the arrests at the time initially did not share information due to fears that they might expose the detainees to further risks.
Wangchen Nyima had previously been arrested for allegedly carrying out advocacy related to education and health. Their younger brother named Orgyan Choedrak was also arrested when Chinese authorities forcibly closed a school connected to Neneng Monastery in 2015.
Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima are nephews of Tulku Choekyi Nyima, the patron of Neneng Monastery.
The arrests came at a sensitive moment. On 18 August, three days after the arrests of Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima, the assembly hall of Nenang Monastery caught fire, resulting in the deaths of two monks: Khenpo Thubten and Bukyo. The source added that some local Tibetans have pointed the finger at Chinese authorities for the fire.
Drago County has more recently been the scene of demolitions of several key religious sites and the detention of Tibetans who have criticised their treatment by local Chinese authorities.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch