A Tibetan monk whose attempted self-immolation in southwestern China’s Sichuan province led to his jailing and launched a series of Tibetan protest burnings over the next seven years has been moved to solitary confinement for a minor infraction of prison rules, a local source says.
Tabey, a Kirti monastery monk who was left badly injured by his Feb. 27, 2009 protest in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county’s main town, is now being held in a “darkened, isolated” cell in Sichuan’s Deyang prison, a Tibetan living in the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service this week.
“On Aug. 20, Tabey came to the TV room early and was watching a show before a scheduled mandatory screening of an official Chinese education program,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Prison officials reprimanded him and tried to force him from the room, but Tabey pushed back with all his strength, and when a Tibetan prison mate named Konchok Lodroe attempted to intervene, he was also taken away and detained,” he said.
Tabey will likely be kept in isolation now for at least three months, RFA’s source said.
Tibetan prisoners held in Deyang routinely suffer discrimination in the quality of the food they receive and in opportunities to meet with visiting family members, the source said.
“And minor offenses committed by Tibetan prisoners are punished more severely than are similar actions committed by [Han] Chinese,” 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 145 Tibetans living in China have now set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.