Chinese authorities have arrested and detained a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Tashi Monastery in Gansu province for allegedly contacting people outside the far-western region, two people with knowledge of the situation said.
Kunchok Dakpa was taken in during the last week of October from the monastery in Thewo county, the sources said.
“Kunchok Dakpa traveled to India in the past and studied at the Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala,” said a Tibetan from inside Tibet, adding that his whereabouts are unknown.
Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala, India, is the home of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government in exile.
“Though Chinese authorities frequently summoned and interrogated him in the past, this time he has been arrested and detained,” he said.
Dakpa’s arrest comes amid ongoing restrictions on freedoms of religion, expression, movement, and assembly by Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas of nearby Chinese provinces.
RFA previously reported that China has been tracking Tibetans in Tibet communicating with those in exile to shut down the flow of information to the outside world, according to sources inside the autonomous region who provide information to communities abroad.
During the past few years, the government has tightened controls on online communications, claiming it undermines national unity, and detained some Tibetans for alleged online offenses.
Another Tibetan said local authorities have constantly harassed and interrogated the monk, though it is unclear whether Chinese police or government secret agents arrested him.
“Kunchok Dakpa has always been a law-abiding individual and has never been involved in political activities that may create chaos,” he said. “He is someone local Tibetans respect and admire.”
After completing his monastic studies at Kirti Monastery, Dakpa worked in the administrative office there for about five years. In 2012, he returned to Tibet and worked as a teacher at Tashi Monastery in Gansu’s Yipa township.