Tibetan Doctor Linked to Self-Immolation Detained Again

2017-05-01
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Detained Tibetan doctor Khedrup is shown with Machu county police headquarters in an undated photo.
Detained Tibetan doctor Khedrup is shown with Machu county police headquarters in an undated photo.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

A Tibetan doctor freed in January by police in China’s Gansu province after being held over suspected links to a self-immolation protest has been taken into custody again, sources in the region and in exile say.

Khedrup, a monk and doctor of traditional medicine from Mura town in Gansu’s Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was detained on April 18, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing contacts in Machu.

“No reason was given for his detention,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“His family members and friends in the community are worried that he may now be put on trial,” the source said.

Khedrup, aged about 50, was first detained on Dec. 14 by Machu county police and held for over a month on suspicion of sending photos and video clips of the Dec. 8, 2016 self-immolation protest of Machu resident Tashi Rabten to international media

He was beaten and tortured in detention, sources told RFA in earlier reports. But when authorities could produce no evidence against him, he was freed on Jan. 21 with a warning he would be closely watched.

Call for freedom

Tashi Rabten, 33, set himself ablaze on Dec. 8 at about 7:00 p.m. local time on a road leading from the Machu county center to the Machu Bridge, local sources said following the protest.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Tibetan living in the area told RFA next day that witnesses to the protest heard Rabten call out for “freedom for Tibet and for the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama.”

“He also called out for the release of the [detained] Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima,” RFA’s source said.

Chinese police later beat and tortured Rabten’s wife and daughters after taking them into custody for questioning, local sources said.

The abuse followed authorities’ demand that the three sign a document declaring that Rabten had set himself ablaze not in protest of Chinese policies, but because of problems at home, one source said.

Reported by Sangye Dorjee for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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