A Tibetan monk jailed for five years for writing song lyrics honoring a former Tibetan religious leader has been released from prison in China’s Qinghai province after serving his full term, Tibetan sources say.
Lobsang Jinpa, a monk of Tridu (in Chinese, Chenduo) county’s Nyatso Zilkar monastery, “was released on Oct. 30 and has now returned to his native place,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“News of his release was delayed in reaching the outside world because of restrictions imposed on the internet and other communications channels during the lead-up to the 19th Party Congress [of the ruling Chinese Communist Party ],” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
No word was immediately available on the condition of Jinpa’s health following his release, though he was reported three years ago by Tibetan sources to have been suffering from kidney and liver ailments and lack of decent food.
Jinpa, now about 35, was detained in 2012 along with Zilkar monk Tsultrim Kalsang and several others suspected of “separatist activities,” the source said, adding that Jinpa was beaten in detention before being released.
“However, Chinese police arrested him again, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was charged with collaborating with a Tibetan singer, Lo Lo, in the composing and production of a music album containing a song in memory of the late Panchen Lama.”
“Lobsang Jinpa was accused of writing the lyrics for that song,” he said.
In September 2012, Zilkar monastery was raided by hundreds of Chinese police who took away Jinpa, Kalsang, and two other monks—Ngawang Monlam and Sonam Yignyen—and detained another monk, Sonam Sherab, for taking photographs of the raid, Tibetan sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Computers and DVDs found in the monks’ rooms were seized by police, who also beat and pointed guns at other monks who pleaded with them not to take the men away.
At least three of those taken into custody were suspected of having provided foreign media outlets with details about two nearby self-immolation protests earlier in the year, while another was believed to have been found in possession of photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, one source said.
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.