Tibetan Prisoner Released After Serving Eight-Year Term

2016-08-17
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Tibetan monk Sangga (C) is shown following his release from prison, Aug. 12, 2016.
Tibetan monk Sangga (C) is shown following his release from prison, Aug. 12, 2016.
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Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have freed a Tibetan monk at the end of an eight-year sentence served for activities opposing Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, Tibetan sources say.

Sangga, a monk enrolled at Togden monastery in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, was released on Aug. 12 and arrived at his home in Ngaba’s The’u Chung village the next day, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing contacts in the region.

“He had been held at Mianyang prison [near Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu],”  Choephel—an executive member of the Dharamsala-based Domey Association—told RFA.

Jailed once before in 2001 for three years for putting up posters calling for Tibetan independence, Sangga was released in 2004, Choephel said.

“But on Aug. 13, 2008, he was detained again at a tea shop in Ngaba town by provincial and prefecture-level police and disappeared into custody for two months,” Choephel said.

“At the end of that time, the Ngaba People’s Intermediate Court sentenced him in secret to eight years in prison.”

'State secrets'

Sangga had been tried on charges of “disseminating state secrets to outside ‘separatist forces,’” a charge frequently leveled by Chinese authorities against Tibetans spreading news of local protests to outside contacts, the Tibetan news site phayul.com said on Aug. 16.

The third-eldest son in a family of four siblings, Sangga had entered Togden monastery at a young age and had excelled in his training and studies, Choephel said.

“He was considered an exemplary student in the monastery,” he said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 145 Tibetans living in China have now set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

Reported by Lobe Socktsang for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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