Tibetan Monk Freed One Year Early From Prison Term Served For Protest Role

Two monks detained with him after protests in 2008 were released earlier, sources say.

Tibetan monk Choktrin Gyatso is shown in an undated photo.

Authorities in northwestern China’s Qinghai province have released a Tibetan monk handed a 10-year prison term for his role in protests that swept Tibetan areas of China in 2008, a source in India said.

Choktrin Gyatso, 44 and a monk of Tsang monastery in Gepasumdo (in Chinese, Tongde) county in the Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was released on April 15 after serving nine years of his sentence, Dorjee Tsering of the Dharamsala-based GuChuSum Association, an advocacy group for Tibetan political prisoners, told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“[Gyatso] arrived back at his home at around midnight on April 15,” Tsering said, citing contacts in the Gepasumdo area.

“Judging by his photos, his health appears to be okay. There seem to be no special concerns about him now,” Tsering added.

News of Gyatso’s release from prison was briefly delayed in reaching outside contacts because of strict communications clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.

Together with two other Tsang monastery monks—Khedrup Gyatso and Tsesang-—Choktrin Gyatso was detained by authorities for leading protests in April 2008 against Chinese rule in Tibetan areas, Tsering said.

“Tsesang, who was sentenced to nine years and held in Deyang prison near [Qinghai’s provincial capital] Xining, was released early and sent home,” Tsering said.

Khedrup Gyatso, who was given a 10-year term, was freed in poor health in March 2016 having suffered severe beatings in detention that disfigured his face and damaged his eyes, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

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