Chinese authorities have freed a Tibetan monk who spent most of the last eight years in prison after refusing to publicly criticize Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, according to a Tibetan source living in India.
Jamyang Tenzin, a monk from Lithang (in Chinese, Litang) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was freed from jail over the weekend after being held for nearly two-and-a-half years in his latest detention, a Tibetan monk living in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Jamyang Tenzin was released on Jan. 24 from his detention center in Minyak Rangakha and … warmly welcomed by his family, relatives and other village members,” the India-based monk named Jamyang Yonten said, citing local contacts.
“It is difficult to assess his condition of health at this point of time,” he said, noting that the monk had earlier suffered from vision problems he developed while in prison.
Jamyang Tenzin was detained on Oct. 3, 2007 after he refused to take part in a public condemnation of the Dalai Lama convened by Chinese authorities involving more than a thousand local Tibetans, according to Jamyang Yonten.
At the time, the monk stood up and rejected the criticism of the Dalai Lama, reciting a prayer for his long life, and demanded that authorities explain the detention of several other Tibetan leaders.
Jamyang Tenzin was secretly detained later the same day and held for two years in an undisclosed location. He was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison at a secret trial conducted by the Kardze People’s Intermediate Court, Jamyang Yonten said.
While serving his three-year sentence, Jamyang Tenzin developed a kidney problem that caused his vision to become blurred and he was freed for medical treatment, Jamyang Yonten said, without providing a date for the monk’s release.
“After going through rigorous treatment, Jamyang Tenzin got better and resumed a variety of social work, including his efforts to improve literacy among the nomadic Tibetan community,” he said.
But the monk was again detained on Aug. 28, 2012, without any explanation, and held in prison until his release over the weekend, according to Jamyang Yonten.
Authorities did not provide a reason for setting him free.
Tibetans living in China frequently complain of political, economic, and religious discrimination as well as human rights abuses.
A total of 136 Tibetans have self-immolated in China since 2009 to protest Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas and to call for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Lobsang Choephel for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.