Former Tibetan Political Prisoner Questioned, Put Under House Arrest

2018-01-02
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Shonu Palden is shown lying in a hospital bed following his release from prison in an undated photo.
Shonu Palden is shown lying in a hospital bed following his release from prison in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of TCHRD

A former Tibetan political prisoner weakened by beatings and torture suffered in detention has been placed under house arrest by Chinese authorities angered over his contacts with rights groups and media outlets outside the region, Tibetan sources say.

Shonu Palden, 40, was summoned by police in Gansu province’s Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county on Dec. 27 and was questioned for hours about a report published by the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) earlier in the month.

The report detailed the hardships faced by Palden’s eight-year-old daughter Namgyal Dolma, who has been barred from attending school because of her father’s previous involvement in protests calling for Tibetan freedom from Chinese rule.

Chinese police have now “criticized him for spreading word of his case outside the area, and have scolded him severely,” TCHRD staff member Trisong Dorje told RFA’s Tibetan Service, adding that Palden was accused of harboring “political motives” for discussing his case with others.

“Shonu Palden’s family, relatives, and friends are worried that the authorities may now arrest him again, and that if this happens, his failing health may grow even worse,” Dorje said.

Palden now lives in poor health at his home in Machu after being released in 2013 by prison authorities who feared he might die behind bars as a result of the beatings and torture he endured while detained, TCHRD said in a Dec. 18 report.

He now suffers from blocked arteries, failing eyesight, and breathing and hearing problems, and his family is struggling to meet the costs of his medical care, the rights group said.

Local authorities are meanwhile refusing to admit Palden’s daughter to school, saying that her birth date was entered improperly on an application.

But similar cases have been quickly and easily resolved, TCHRD said in its report, adding that local authorities have told Dolma’s parents the real reason she has not been admitted is her father’s participation in the protests for which he had been sent to prison.

Reported by Sangye Dorje for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Benpa Topgyal. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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