Chinese authorities in the northwestern province of Gansu have sentenced two Tibetan monks to lengthy jail terms following their participation in regionwide protests in 2008 against rule by Beijing, according to a source inside Tibet.
The two monks from Tashi Chokorling monastery, both named Tenzin Gyatso, were recently handed sentences of 13 and 15 years respectively, the source told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The older monk, 40, was sentenced to 15 years. He is detained in a prison in Lanzhou. The younger monk was sentenced to 13 years. He is only 24 and is detained in a prison in Dingxi,” the source said.
The date of the two men’s sentencing and the nature of the charges on which they were convicted was not immediately clear, and officials could not be reached for comment.
Tashi Chokorling monastery is located in the Chone (in Chinese, Zhuoni) county of Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu province, the source said.
“In 2008, more than 300 monks out of the 500 monks in the monastery rose up against Chinese rule. All were taken into custody by the Chinese authorities.”
Later, 254 of the monks were released after being detained for different lengths of time, said the source. Some were held for periods as short as 10 to 15 days, and others were held for five to six months.
Many were subjected to ill treatment, including “severe torture” and beatings, while in detention, the source said. All were badly clothed and fed.
“Prison staff displayed tsampa and other food to the hungry monks and asked them whether [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama or the United Nations would feed them and keep them happy.”
The two monks recently sentenced were part of the group of 300 detained in 2008, the source said.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.