The group was detained on the spot, with eyewitnesses reporting that several of the monks suffered severe beatings as they were arrested and taken away. They have not been seen since.
Amnesty International called last night for their immediate release, along with all the other anti-Chinese demonstrators picked up in the past three weeks. The human rights organisation said they were at “high risk of torture and other ill treatment” and called on supporters to write to Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, with copies to the Chinese embassy in London.
But there are also good reasons not to give up hope:
Beijing appears to have quelled the unrest for the moment by sending troops to Tibet and the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan. But pressure is mounting on China to begin talks with the Dalai Lama, whom it has blamed for inciting the unrest. A group of 29 Chinese dissidents have signed an open letter calling for talks with Tibet's spiritual leader and demanding a UN investigation into the situation. Support is also growing for a boycott of the Olympics if Beijing persists in its brutal treatment of dissent.