Authorities at a prison in northwestern China’s Gansu province have freed a young Tibetan man jailed in 2008 for his role in protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, releasing him after he developed a medical condition as the result of torture while in detention, sources said.
Lakyab, a Tibetan from Tserima township in Gansu’s Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county, was released on Sept. 30 after serving more than seven years in prison, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was released for medical reasons related to a lung condition he developed as a result of prolonged beatings and torture while in detention,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Lakyab, now 25, was 17 when he was detained and found guilty of attempting to burn down the Tserima township government building, as well as the local police station, amid protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas of China in 2008, a second source said.
“Initially, he was detained for two years in the Machu county detention center, but he was later transferred between three other prisons and subjected to extreme torture and hardship,” said the source, who also declined to provide his name.
“After his release, when he reached home, Tibetans both young and old came out to welcome him, praising his great sacrifice for Tibet’s independence, religion and culture.”
While overjoyed to be reunited with his friends and family in Tserima’s Nurma village, Lakyab continues to suffer from his lung condition “which he has not been able to cure, despite several treatments,” the source said.
Lakyab’s father had also “passed away due to the grief he endured” knowing that his son was suffering inside a Chinese prison, he said.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 143 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service.Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.