China rejects U.N. claim on Tibetan monks' disapperance

BEIJING Thu Jun 9, 2011 5:41pm IST

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Thursday defended its treatment of Tibetan monks it says are undergoing re-education, responding to a U.N. inquiry about what exiled Tibetans have called the forced disappearance of hundreds of monks.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the monks had not been detained illegally, and urged U.N. human rights investigators to act without prejudice.

"It is legal to supervise religious affairs, and protect normal religious order. This issue of forced disappearance fundamentally does not exist," Hong told reporters at a regular press briefing.

U.N. human rights investigators called on China to reveal the "fate and whereabouts" of more than 300 monks who disappeared after being rounded up by security forces at a monastery in Aba prefecture of the southwestern province of Sichuan in April.

Exiled Tibetans and a prominent writer have said that the crackdown was sparked by a monk's self-immolation in March, an apparent protest against government controls.

"According to our understanding, relevant local government departments are collectively implementing education on the legal system for staff of the Kirti Monastery," Hong said.

"We urge the relevant mechanisms to abandon prejudice and genuinely carry out their orders according to principles of objectivity and fairness," he said, referring to the U.N. investigators.

The Aba government said in late April after the self-immolation incident that it had decided to give some monks "legal education", due to "illegal activities" that included visiting prostitutes, getting drunk, gambling and pornography, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The U.N. group, composed of five independent human rights experts, called for the prosecution of those responsible for the disappearances, a crime under international law.

An unknown number of monks have been released since the group was taken away from the monastery -- located in an ethnically Tibetan area -- by public security agents and armed police in 10 military trucks on April 21, it said.

China routinely rejects any accusations about mistreatment or exploitation of Tibetans, saying its rule has brought untold benefits to a poor and feudal society.

(Reporting by Michael Martina, editing by Miral Fahmy)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Expanding Ties

REUTERS SHOWCASE

U.S. in Afghanistan

U.S. in Afghanistan

Obama signs order expanding U.S. Afghanistan role - NY Times  Full Article 

Portugal Graft Case

Portugal Graft Case

Portuguese police arrest ex-PM Socrates in corruption investigation  Full Article 

Islamic State

Islamic State

Canadian vets plan to join Kurdish fight against Islamic State.  Full Article 

Rewriting History

Rewriting History

Fears grow about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

International Ebola fight helping but more work needed - U.N. chief  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

U.S., Iran discussing new ideas to break nuclear impasse - sources  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage