Chinese authorities in Sichuan have released a Tibetan nun from prison on completion of her sentence, driving her immediately to her home at midnight in order to prevent public celebrations by family members and supporters, sources said.
Ani Chime, aged about 41, was freed on June 25 after serving three years in prison following her detention “allegedly for political reasons,” a Tibetan source in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Thursday, citing sources in the region.
“The Chinese police brought her straight to her home around midnight that same day to prevent a crowd from gathering to welcome her,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Family members and other relatives were expecting her release and had made plans to receive her on June 28, but she arrived earlier than they planned,” he said.
Chime was taken into custody on June 26, 2011 in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) county in Sichuan’s Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where she was working in a clinic attached to the Lamdrak nunnery, the source said, adding,“She was detained along with her assistant, Ani Chiga, allegedly for political reasons.”
Held for a year at a detention center in Kardze prefecture’s Dartsedo (Kangding) county, Chime was later handed a three-year prison term and was transferred to a women’s prison in Sichuan where she served a further two years, he said.
The precise nature of the charge for which Chime was convicted remains unclear.
“Chime is a resident of Kardze county’s Khotsoe Arora village, and her father’s name is Dorje Tsering and her mother’s name is Ngawang Choedron,” the source said.
“She will be given a warm welcome at her village and also at the Lamdrak nunnery,” he said.
During the month in which Ani Chime was detained, Tibetan monks and nuns had taken to the streets in Kardze to protest Chinese rule, drawing beatings and detentions by police, according to reports by Tibetans living in exile and in the region.
Protesters had also called for the return of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, said a Tibetan resident who witnessed the demonstrations, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 131 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.
Reported by Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.