Tibetan Protest Monk Freed After Serving Three-Year Prison Term

2017-04-21
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Tibetan monk Lobsang Gyatso is shown following his release from prison, April 19, 2017.
Tibetan monk Lobsang Gyatso is shown following his release from prison, April 19, 2017.
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A Tibetan monk jailed three years ago in Sichuan for protesting Chinese rule in Tibetan areas has been released from prison after serving his full term, a source in the region said.

Lobsang Gyatso, a monk from Kirti monastery in the Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Ngaba county, was freed on April 19 and returned to his family home, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Gyatso, now about 23, had launched a solo protest on April 2, 2014 on a main road of the county seat, the source said, adding, “He carried a Tibetan national flag and called out for Tibetan freedom and the long life of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama.”

“He escaped arrest and went back to his monastery after his protest,” the source said.

“Then, on April 15, the police raided his quarters in the monastery and took him away.”

After being held in detention for about seven months, Gyatso was convicted on a charge of subversion and given a three-year sentence by the Bathang County People’s Intermediate Court, also in Ngaba prefecture, the source said.

“His present state of his health is unknown,” he said.

Gyatso’s April 2014 protest was followed later that month by a protest by another Kirti monk, 19-year-old Lobsang Tenpa, who was detained and beaten by police after calling out in public for freedom for Tibet, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

He was released on May 5, 2016 after serving a two-year term.

Kirti monastery and Ngaba’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, nuns, and other Tibetans opposed to Chinese rule.

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

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