A Tibetan prisoner temporarily freed by Chinese authorities to seek medical treatment following harsh treatment in jail is in failing health, with his impoverished family’s funds quickly running out to pay for his care, according to Tibetan sources.
Lodro Palden, a monk from the Beri monastery in Sichuan province’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, had been “severely tortured” after being detained for staging a protest in Kardze’s main town, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was detained in 2008 when he and two other monks called out for Tibetan freedom and for the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Taken into custody as the protest’s leader, “Palden was held in different prisons in Kardze, Dartsedo, and other places and was severely tortured during questioning,” the source said.
The Kardze prefectural court later sentenced him to nine years in jail, but after he had been held for about four years his health began to fail and he was sent for medical treatment in Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu.
“He is said to be in critical condition after four months in hospital, and the cost of his treatment has drained the funds of his already-poor family,” he said.
Jailed for drawing a flag?
Meanwhile, authorities in another Tibetan-populated region of Sichuan released a jailed monk this month following his completion of a two-year prison term apparently handed down for drawing an image of the banned Tibetan national flag, a local resident told RFA.
Lodro Gyatso, a monk from the Kirti monastery in Ngaba (Aba) prefecture, was released from jail on Sept. 13 and was “welcomed warmly” on his return home, RFA’s source said, also on condition of anonymity.
“The reception included a convoy of vehicles arranged by his classmates at Kirti monastery,” the source said.
“Several hundred local Tibetans turned up with scarves in their hands to welcome him,” he said, adding, “They also gave generous gifts of money and made other gestures of solidarity.”
Detained on unspecified charges in 2011, Gyatso was later sentenced to a two-year term, the source said.
“The reason for his detention and sentence was not known, but people later came to believe that he had been jailed for drawing an image of the Tibetan flag,” he 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 121 Tibetans in China have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six Tibetans setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.
Sichuan’s Kardze and Ngaba prefectures have been the scene of repeated Tibetan protests, both by individuals and by small groups, despite the threat of detention and violent assaults against protesters by Chinese police.
Reported by Jolep Choephel and Norbu Damdul for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.