A Tibetan township chief jailed for 15 months after raising questions about government corruption has been freed from prison in northwestern China’s Qinghai province after serving his full term, sources in the region say.
Sengdra, who was elected leader of Kyangche township in Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) prefecture’s Gade (Gande) county in 2014, was released at about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 18, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He went straight to Je Kumbum monastery and then returned to his hometown,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Detained on Dec. 14, 2014 on charges of having conducted “illegal activities,” Sengdra was later sentenced to one year and three months in prison and served his term in a prison located in Dongsheng near Qinghai’s capital Xining, the source said.
“During this period of detention served at hard labor, his health declined, if we compare his condition now with what it was a year ago. He looked weak after his release, but there were no obvious signs of injury or cuts on his body.”
Complained about corruption
Before his arrest, Sengdra had questioned local authorities about their use of money assigned for projects in the township, RFA’s source said.
“He argued with them about the mismatch of funds announced by the government and what was actually spent,” the source said, adding, “This could have angered the authorities and led to his detention.”
“He was then charged with having conducted illegal activities during the previous four years, and was given a 15-month sentence,” he said.
Development projects in Tibetan areas have led to frequent standoffs with Tibetans who accuse Chinese firms and local officials of pilfering money, improperly seizing land, and disrupting the lives of local people.
Many result in violent suppression, the detention of protest organizers, and intense pressure on the local population to comply with the government’s wishes.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.