Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have sentenced a Tibetan monk to three years in prison for staging a solitary protest in Ngaba county opposing Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, sources in the region and in exile said.
Jampal Gyatso, 22, was sentenced in a secret trial, with no opportunity given to his parents or other relatives to attend the hearing or hire a lawyer to present his case, a Tibetan living in the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Monday.
“His family members learned about this only today, Aug. 1,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We now know he is being held in a prison in Maowun [Mao] county, about 350 kilometers [217 miles approx.] from the Ngaba county seat,” the source said.
Details of Gyatso’s present health condition and the charges on which he was sentenced are still not known, the source said.
Gyatso, a monk from Ngaba’s Kirti monstery, was detained in September 2015 after he called out in public for Tibetan freedom while carrying a photo of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on the main street of the Ngaba county seat, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Chinese police stationed along the road quickly seized him and took him away, sources said.
“At that time, several Tibetans who witnessed the scene shouted in support of the protester,” one source said.
Gyatso and his family—father Surya, mother Tare Kyi, and a brother and sister—come from Ngaba’s Meruma village group no. 3, a Tibetan source living in India told RFA, citing contacts in the region.
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 also 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 Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated b Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.