Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have freed a Tibetan monk jailed for more than two years for protesting Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, sources in the region say.
Sonam Yarphel, a monk from Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture’s Mangge monastery believed to be in his mid 20s, was released on Dec. 21 at around 9:30 a.m. after serving a sentence of two years and 25 days, a source in Kardze told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Family members and monastery officials were first asked to sign documents vouching for him at the Sershul [Shiqu] county detention center,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“His condition of health appeared to be good at the time of his release,” the source said.
Yarphel was taken into custody on Nov. 26, 2014, after staging a solitary protest in the Sershul county seat while carrying a photo of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, RFA’s source said.
“So he was detained and jailed for two years and 25 days, and was finally released on Dec. 21,” the source said, adding, “He was held at the Sershul county jail for his entire term and was never moved to other jails.”
Speaking to RFA, a second local source confirmed that Yarphel had been released.
“When officials of the monastery and family members went to the Sershul county detention center, they had to sign a document promising that he would never again violate the laws of the land,” the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Then he was released and allowed to go, with no police sent to escort him home,” he said.
“His body bore no marks of beating or other kinds of torture.”
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Kardze and in other Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 146 Tibetans living in China have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009.
Most protests have featured calls for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama 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 by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.