Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have freed a Tibetan man in poor health a little more than three years before the end of a 13-year prison term imposed for his role in protests that swept Tibetan areas of China in 2008, a source in the region said.
Jampal, 45, was released on April 30 from Baiyin prison near Gansu’s provincial capital Lanzhou and returned to his home in the Nangma Tsangkor village of Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county’s Tserima township at 11:00 a.m. the next morning, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Many Tibetans from the village gathered to welcome him home after his nine years spent in prison,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Accused of leading a Tibetan protest in front of government offices in Tserima township in early March 2008, Jampal was taken into custody on March 14 and held for eight months in the Machu county detention center, RFA’s source said.
“Later, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison and was jailed in Baiyin,” he said.
Jampal was beaten and tortured in prison, suffering injuries to his head and leg, and can now walk only with difficulty, the source said.
Family members who traveled to Baiyin to receive Jampal on his release found him “weak and thin,” and several former acquaintances found it difficult to recognize him, he said.
“But despite his poor health while detained, he behaved well in prison and was always friendly to the authorities and his prison mates, and for this reason his sentence was commuted by a little more than three years.”
A Tibetan named Lakyab was taken into custody at the same time as Jampal, “but Lakyab was released earlier since he was given only eight years in jail,” the source said.
Family members suffered
Jampal's family members suffered great hardship during his nine years in prison, a source in the region told RFA.
"His mother, named Phurtse and aged around 70, fell ill for a long time under the stress, and her husband—Jampal's father—passed away," the source said, speaking on condition he not be named.
Jampal's wife and daughter also endured suffering and worry in his absence, the source said, adding that Jampal's wife took on the main responsibility for their family while he was away.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.