Tibetan Monk is Handed 10-Year Term on Unknown Charges

A map showing Sog county in Nagchu prefecture in Tibet.

A Tibetan monk has been ordered jailed for 10 years by a Chinese court in Tibet almost a year after being detained on still-unspecified charges, sources said.

Tsewang, aged about 27, had been taken into custody last March in Sog (in Chinese, Suo) county in the Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a Tibetan source in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“He was handed a 10-year sentence sometime in January,” RFA’s source said, citing local contacts.

Details concerning the charges on which Tsewang was convicted and on his present whereabouts were not immediately available due to blocks on communications and other restrictions in the Nagchu area, the source said.

“Local Tibetans who heard he had been sentenced have not informed his mother, for fear she might break down on hearing the news,” he said.

Others also held

Tsewang was detained on unknown charges on March 17, 2014, along with three other monks from Drilda monastery named Tsangyang Gyatso, Atse, and Gyaltsen, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

Their detention followed a roundup earlier in March of at least nine other area monks and residents suspected of involvement in activities challenging Chinese rule in Tibet, including the painting of independence slogans on boulders near an iron bridge near Sog county’s Trido township.

Gyatso, chant leader at Drilda monastery, was ordered jailed for 12 years “sometime around Oct. 1, 2014,” one source said, adding, “He is reportedly being held in Chushur prison near [the regional capital] Lhasa.”

Harsh treatment is common at the Chushur prison, located about 48 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Lhasa, with prisoners routinely subjected to torture, beatings, and other forms of abuse, Tibetan sources have said.

No word has been received on the present whereabouts or condition of Atse or Gyaltsen.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, and Chinese police routinely block information flows from Tibetan areas in an attempt to prevent unrest from spreading, sources say.

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


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