Sister of imprisoned Tibetan businessman again detained after public protest

Gonpo Kyi has held protests in Lhasa since last year despite threats of imprisonment.
By Sangyal Kunchok for RFA Tibetan
2023.04.28
Sister of imprisoned Tibetan businessman again detained after public protest A Policeman approaches Gonpo Kyi after covering her with a black cloth outside of the high court in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, April 26, 2023.
(Screen grab from RFA video)

The sister of a businessman who is serving a life sentence has again been arrested and beaten for publicly protesting for her brother’s release in front of the high court in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.

Gonpo Kyi and her husband were removed by Chinese police from the area in front of the court on Monday, according to a source who spoke to Radio Free Asia. Police covered her with a large black banner as they took her away, the source said.

Kyi and her husband were arrested on Wednesday and detained for two nights at Lhasa’s detention center, where they were both beaten and tortured, another source said.

“They have been released but the Chinese police have warned them to stop protesting or else they will land themselves in prison,” the second source told RFA. 

Kyi’s brother, Dorjee Tashi, was arrested in July 2008 following mass Tibetan protests against Chinese rule that spring and branded a “secessionist” for alleged covert support to the protesters and for political connections with the Tibetan community in exile, which he later denied. 

Though the political allegations against him were dropped, Tashi was indicted for loan fraud and sentenced to life in Drapchi Prison in Lhasa on what rights groups and supporters say were politically motivated charges.

Previously beaten

Last month, Kyi went to the prison to plead for his release. When she refused police demands to stop, she was detained overnight and tortured, sources said.

Kyi also staged a peaceful protest at the courthouse in December 2022 and held sit-ins outside another courthouse in the capital in June 2022.

“The Chinese authorities are planning to imprison us but we are also ready to go to prison to protect my brother even if it costs our lives,” she told Radio Free Asia on Friday.

She and her husband “have the right and entitlement to appeal” for Tashi’s release under the law, she said.

Before his arrest, Tashi was a member of the Chinese Communist Party and a successful businessman who owned a luxury hotel chain and real estate companies in Tibet, according to International Campaign for Tibet, a rights group. 

He was praised for his philanthropic activities that contributed to poverty alleviation and economic development in the region.
Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA Tibetan. 
Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.

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