Relatives and friends of a Tibetan monk voiced concerns for his health as he was freed from a Qinghai prison after serving a two-year sentence for protests challenging Beijing's rule, sources said.
Tenzin Rangshar was released on July 14 after serving two years in a prison in the provincial capital Xining, a local resident told RFA's Tibetan Service on Tuesday.
He had been jailed for taking part in a March 18, 2012 protest challenging Chinese rule in Gepasumdo (in Chinese, Tongde) county in Qinghai’s Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, RFA's source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“When he arrived at the Gepasumdo county center, he was welcomed by monks from the [nearby] Ba Shingtri monastery and by local Tibetans with scarves,” he said.
“We welcome his release, but we are worried about his health.”
Though no detailed information on Rangshar’s present state of health has been made available, Tibetan protesters freed from Chinese prisons are frequently released in poor health, often after suffering beatings and torture while in custody.
On July 8, Ngakchung, a monk jailed for six years in Sichuan for sharing news of anti-China protests, was released amid concerns over poor health and failing eyesight, according to sources.
"We know for sure that his health was not good while he was detained, and that his eyesight is very weak," a Tibetan living in exile told RFA, citing local contacts.
Protest turns violent
Rangshar, a monk at Ba Shingtri monastery, was detained on March 18, 2012 when over a thousand Tibetans, including monks, staged a massive demonstration in Gepasumdo against Chinese crackdowns on earlier protests, the source said.
“About 60 Tibetans were detained, with many later released after being held for different periods of time,” he said.
Described as initially peaceful, the protest turned violent when Chinese police assaulted the crowd, wounding an unknown number in an apparent grenade attack, Tibetan sources told RFA at the time.
Details of the police assault, and the nature of the explosives used in the attack, could not be independently confirmed.
The incident followed three days of local protests calling for the release of 50 monks from Ba Shingtri who had been detained three days before for raising the banned Tibetan national flag and shouting political slogans, sources said.
One month later, Chinese authorities seized land from three Tibetan nomad villages in Gepasumdo for distribution to Han Chinese migrating to the area, a Tibetan resident told RFA.
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 return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Lumbum Tashi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.