Tibetan Injured in Clash Freed From Jail in 'Poor Health'

tibet-sangpo-nov2013.gif Undated photo of Yonten Sangpo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

A Tibetan man severely injured during a deadly police raid on his family home in western China’s Sichuan province has been released from jail in poor health after being held without trial for more than a year, sources say.

Yonten Sangpo was shot and wounded in early February 2012 by Chinese security forces as they stormed the house while searching for leaders of a protest held a month earlier in Draggo (in Chinese,  Luhuo) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Sangpo’s two older brothers were killed in the raid, and his mother and children were wounded, sources said.

Chinese authorities subjected Sangpo to repeated threats while he was detained, telling him first that he would be tried and sentenced to death, then threatening him with a life term, and saying finally that he would serve three years, a Tibetan monk living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing sources in the region.

“However, he was released this year before three years had passed,” the source, Ngawang Khyenrab, said.

News of Sangpo’s release, which came on April 21, was delayed due to strict communications curbs imposed by Chinese authorities in protest-hit Tibetan-populated areas of China.

“[Sangpo’s]  health is very poor,” Khyenrab said, adding, “He finds it difficult to speak due to a gunshot wound to his jaw, and his movements are restricted because of an injury to his spine.”

“He has to struggle very hard to walk,” he said.

Sangpo must now report to the local police each month and remain under detention at home for another three years, Khyenrab said.

Brothers killed by police

Sangpo’s brothers Yeshe Rigsal, a 40-year-old monk, and Yeshe Samdrub, 38, had been on the run for more than two weeks and were hiding at their family’s winter home in a nomad region when they were surrounded and fired on, according to sources in Tibet and in exile.

Both were killed in the raid, and their mother Solha was shot in the arm while Sangpo was severely wounded, an India-based source named Kalsang said, citing contacts in the region.

Samdrub’s wife Namdrol, also present during the assault, was handcuffed by police, dragged from the house, and beaten, he said.

Sangpo's parents, both in their 70s, and the family members of Samdrub now find it difficult to make a living, Khyenrab said.

At least six Tibetans were believed killed and an unknown number wounded when Chinese security forces fired on protesters in Draggo county on Jan. 23, 2012.

The protest began when Chinese authorities insisted that local Tibetans celebrate the Lunar New Year against the wishes of residents saddened by earlier protest deaths, sources in the region 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 122 Tibetans in China have set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

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

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