A Tibetan protester jailed for three years for spreading word of crackdowns by security forces in northwestern China’s Gansu province was released by authorities this week, while a court in neighboring Sichuan handed prison terms to two monks detained in March for actions challenging Chinese rule, sources said.
Mura Jinpa, 43, was freed in poor health on Dec. 1 and arrived at his home in Gansu’s Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture two days later, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was received by monks and other Tibetans, who presented him with ceremonial scarves and gave him a warm welcome,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Detained in April 2013 after protesting Chinese crackdowns on Tibetans, “Jinpa was subjected to intense interrogations and torture for about five months,” the source said.
“He was also accused of distributing a document titled ‘Words of Truth’ in Machu county, and was sentenced to a three-year term in a Chinese prison in Pewan town in Gansu,” he said.
Jinpa, whose father’s name in Norphun and mother’s name is Tsomo, is a resident of Mura village in Machu county’s Murchek township, the source said.
“While in detention, he lost his hair, and his health became poor and weak,” he said.
Two monks sentenced
Meanwhile, a Chinese court in Tashiling (Li) county in Sichuan’s Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture sentenced two young Tibetans to prison terms for staging solo protests in Ngaba town earlier this year, Tibetan sources in exile said.
Gendun Phuntsok, 18 and a monk at Ngaba’s restive Kirti monastery, was handed a four-year term at the end of October, India-based monks Losang Yeshe and Kanyag Tsering said, citing local sources.
“He was immediately taken to Mianyang prison near [Sichuan’s capital] Chengdu, where most of the political prisoners in Sichuan are held,” Yeshe and Tsering said.
“No more details of the trial are known,” they said.
On Nov. 2, Kirti monk Lobsang Kalsang, 19, was sentenced by the same court to a three-and-a-half year term and was also taken to Mianyang, Yeshe and Tsering said.
Both monks had scattered leaflets and called for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before being taken into custody.
Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.
Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said in earlier reports.
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 Dalai Lama's return.
Reported by Lumbum Tashi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.