Authorities in northwestern China’s Gansu province have released a Tibetan woman after she served a three-year prison term for her involvement in a self-immolation protest challenging Beijing’s rule, Tibetan sources said.
Yangmo Kyi, 45, was released on Nov. 18 and was secretly returned by police to her home village in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Tsethar—a native of the area now living in India—told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
Because she was brought back without publicity, relatives and supporters were given no chance to greet her in public, Tsethar said, citing contacts in Sangchu.
“Local Tibetans had planned to give her a warm welcome, but that did not happen,” he said.
Though Kyi’s family owns a large guesthouse in a nearby town, she will not be permitted to live there but must stay in her home in Gyayo village, Tsethar said.
“She has also been banned from owning a mobile phone for the next three months, and is not allowed to contact people outside her home or talk about her experiences,” he said.
Word of Kyi's release was initially delayed due to communication blocks imposed by Chinese authorities in the area, and details concerning her current physical condition and state of health were not immediately available.
Yangmo Kyi, also called Yangmo Tso, was one of several Tibetans detained following the Oct. 23, 2012 self-immolation protest of area resident Dorje Rinchen, who set himself ablaze outside a police station near Sangchu’s famous Labrang monastery.
His protest brought to 58 the number of the now 143 self-immolations staged since February 2009 opposing Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and calling for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Police took no action at the time, “but the authorities later detained some Tibetan shopkeepers in the area to account to higher-ups for their efforts in the case,” Tsethar said.
Taken into custody on Nov. 18, Kyi was accused of interfering with police efforts to recover Rinchen’s charred remains and was later handed a three-year prison term, Tsethar said.
Five other Tibetans detained with her were also given lengthy terms, with her husband Pema Dondrub sentenced to a 12-year term and others receiving sentences of from 4 to 11 years.
Reported by Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.