A Tibetan monk detained last week by Chinese police on suspicion of possessing politically sensitive writings has died after being severely beaten in custody, according to a Tibetan source.
Tashi Paljor, 34, a monk at the Wenpo monastery in Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), died en route to a hospital after authorities returned him to his family the day after he was detained, a local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Wednesday.
“He was taken away by Chinese authorities at around 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 28, and he was so badly beaten afterward that when he was handed over to his relatives on March 1, he could not talk,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“His family rushed him to the local Chamdo county hospital, but unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries and died on the way between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. that same day.”
Paljor was seized by police on Friday when he arrived at a residence in Wenpo village where authorities had found banned recordings and writings by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and exile political leader Lobsang Sangay, the source said.
“It was on this pretext that Tashi Paljor was detained and taken away,” he said.
“It was very clear that his death was caused by torture suffered in detention,” he said, adding, “He was a young and healthy man before he was detained, but he could not even speak when he was released into the care of his family.”
A well-respected monk
Paljor had studied for 13 years at the Dzongsar monastery in Dege county, Kardze (Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan province, earning the title of Lobpon, a qualified instructor in Buddhist texts.
“He was a well-respected monk who always advised people to face both joy and sorrow with equanimity,” RFA’s source said.
The monks of Wenpo monastery are currently preparing to conduct prayer services on Paljor’s behalf, he said.
Last month, sources told RFA that authorities in Gansu province had released a Tibetan prisoner in poor health following years of beatings and abuse in jail, apparently fearing he might die in custody.
Goshul Lobsang, 43, was detained in May 2010 after evading police who had sought him for his role in leading protests challenging Chinese rule in Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) prefecture’s Machu (Maqu) county in 2008, according to his brother.
Lobsang was released on Oct. 27, 2013, “when his health deteriorated in detention and his chances for survival appeared dim,” Australia-based Demjong said, citing contacts in the region. “His condition was so bad that he could not even swallow his food,” he said.
Tibetans have held sporadic demonstrations against human rights abuses by Chinese authorities and challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 127 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.