Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have released a Tibetan protester who had served an eight-year term in prison but is now unable to walk without assistance owing to crippling injuries to his back, Tibetan sources said.
Ngoega, 61, was freed on March 20 and sent back in secret to his home in Sershul (in Chinese, Shiqu) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan monk living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Because no announcement was made, local Tibetans and friends missed the opportunity to greet him warmly on his arrival,” RFA’s source Pema Wanggyal told RFA, citing sources in the region.
“However, hundreds of Tibetans in Kardze are now pouring in to welcome Ngoega with continuous receptions,” Wanggyal said.
Following Ngoega’s release from prison, back injuries sustained while in custody have caused him worsening pain, however, “and he can barely move without assistance,” Wanggyal added.
When protests challenging Beijing’s rule swept across Tibetan areas of China in 2008, Ngoega—a member of Kardze’s Chukha family—was one of many local Tibetans detained by authorities on suspicion of leading local protests, Wanggyal said.
“Chinese police held him at the Kardze county detention center and in Dartsedo for a couple of weeks before he was sentenced by the Kardze Intermediate People’s Court on Oct. 30 of that year to an eight-year term in prison.”
“After that, he was confined in the Deyang prison near [Sichuan provincial capital] Chengdu, and he was released on March 20,” he said.
In 1990, Ngoega had distributed religious scriptures and photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to the monks of a local monastery and to the lay community, Wanggyal said.
“He was also one of the principal organizers of a long-life offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Kardze in 2001,” he said.
Seventy photos of the Dalai Lama, who is reviled by Chinese authorities as a dangerous separatist seeking to split Tibetan areas of China from Beijing’s control, were discovered by police when they ransacked Ngoega’s room following his arrest in 2008, Wanggyal said.
Reported by Sonam Wangdue for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.