Tibetan Freed in Sichuan After Serving Four Years, 10 Months

2017-02-17
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Sherphel (R) is shown in an undated photo.
Sherphel (R) is shown in an undated photo.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

A Tibetan man jailed more than four years ago in Sichuan over suspected links to self-immolation protests has been freed from prison after serving his full term, sources in the region and in exile say.

Sherphel, a resident of Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county, was released on Nov. 25, 2016, Golog Jigme, a former political prisoner living in Switzerland, told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“It has been several months since his release, but the news was delayed in reaching outside media contacts because of a Chinese clampdown on communications and other restrictions in the area,” Jigme said, citing contacts in Serthar.

Sherphel was taken into custody on Jan. 24, 2012, after a notice circulated in the Serthar county town warning of imminent self-immolation protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, Jigme said, adding that local Tibetans then vowed to prevent immolators’ remains from falling into Chinese hands.

“The self-immolations never happened,” Jigme said.

“But the Chinese police then took Sherphel into custody, and he was later sentenced to a prison term of four years and 10 months on unknown charges,” he said.

On the day Sherphel was detained, Tibetans living in Serthar town staged a peaceful demonstration calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Jigme said.

“Chinese security forces fired live rounds into the crowd, killing a 25-year-old man named Dawa Drakpa and critically injuring many other Tibetans,” Jigme said. “They detained about 30 protesters at the same time.”

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 146 Tibetans living in China have 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 return of the Dalai Lama from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

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

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Reinolds

The Chinese government should not be using violence, suppression or jailing as a means to control Tibet. Tibetans are a peaceful group of people. My visit to Tibet caused me to realize that Tibetans are unable to self govern because most, if not all, are focused on Buddhism. Their younger generation's dream have invariably focused on religion and monkhood. They will never self govern because there are limited number of talented people who can sustain an independent country ie accountants, architects, doctors etc. China should permit religious freedom and Tibetans self determination. China will automatically fill the rest of the country's needs for builders,engineers, police, military etc Most Tibetans would happily, be focused on religion walking clockwise around their temples all day. This is the only way; leave them to their peace and happiness and let China assume the rest of the responsibilities of nationhood.

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