Gansu Protest Monks Die

Tibetan monks had spoken out to foreign journalists during an organized tour.
2011-04-05
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Jamyang Jinpa, in an undated photo.
Jamyang Jinpa, in an undated photo.
Photo: RFA

A Tibetan monk who spoke to foreign media during protests against Chinese rule in 2008 has died three years after being severely beaten during police detention, exiled Tibetan sources said.

"A monk from the Labrang monastery in Kanlho [in China's Gansu province] died [on Sunday] at about 10 a.m.," said Zuoge, a Tibetan monk at the Kirti monastery in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, citing sources in the region.

"His name was Jamyang Jinpa," Zuoge said. "He was 37 years old. He had been beaten up very badly by the authorities after taking part in the 2008 protests."

The Washington-based International Campaign For Tibet (ICT) confirmed Jinpa’s death, saying it came about a month after the death of 42-year old Sangye Gyatso, another of a group of 15 Labrang monks who participated in the 2008 protest.

Jamyang Jinpa was detained by armed security personnel late at night on April 9, 2008 at Labrang, ICT said in a statement.

The group said that Jinpa had been acting as a guide for a group of foreign journalists who had been brought there by Chinese officials to show how "peaceful" the region was.

"When a group of 14 monks burst into the monastery courtyard to begin a peaceful demonstration in front of the reporters, Jamyang Jinpa recognized the rare opportunity and joined them, speaking to the journalists about the lack of human rights in Tibet," ICT said.

'Severe torture'

The group said Jinpa’s symptoms after his release on May 15, 2008 were "consistent with severe torture."

"Bleeding or hemorrhage in the brain can be a result of beating and kicking of the head, and in this case could have been conjoined with other factors such as damage to the kidneys, again due to beating or severe dehydration," it said.

When Jamyang Jinpa's family came to collect him following his release, "he could not walk or stand, and had no feeling in his legs," ICT said, citing Tibetan sources.

"He could not recognize his family, his eyesight was completely gone, and he seemed to have no memory of what had happened to him."

Though Jinpa's eyesight and mental health slowly improved during the last two years, "his overall condition continued to deteriorate and he died at around 10 a.m. local time on April 3," ICT said.

Hiding in the hills

Jinpa had studied both English and Tibetan in exile Tibetan schools in India and began working as the main English guide for foreign visitors to Labrang on his return to Gansu.

Images of Jamyang Jinpa, Sangye Gyatso, and 13 other Labrang monks who protested in front of a group of foreign press on an official tour were broadcast around the world at the time.

Sangye Gyatso was one of the organizers of the protest in front of foreign press at Labrang monastery in 2008, as well as earlier demonstrations at the monastery.

He had escaped Chinese detention following the issue of a warrant for his arrest, but his health was damaged by several months of hiding in the hills, sources in the region said.

He died at his home in Labrang on February 26, 2011, ICT confirmed.

Since a crackdown by armed police on widespread Tibetan unrest in 2008, Tibetans have continued to protest alone or in small groups against Chinese rule, risking detention and harsh treatment in jail, according to sources in the region.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service and by Lobe for the Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee and Luisetta Mudie. Written in English by Luisetta Mudie and Richard Finney.

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