Tibetan Freed in Sichuan after Serving Out Sentence for 2008 Protests

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Tibetan monks gather at Gansu's Labrang monastery in a file photo.
Tibetan monks gather at Gansu's Labrang monastery in a file photo.

Authorities at a prison in southwest China’s Sichuan province have released a Tibetan protestor arrested seven years ago for participating in a rally, his former cellmate said.

Norbu Tsering arrived in his hometown of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province on Wednesday, a day after he was freed from Mianyang prison, Gompo Thinley, a former political prisoner who had shared a cell with Tsering and is now living in exile, told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

The Tibetans wanted to host a reception for Tsering’s homecoming, but local authorities imposed severe restrictions in the town to prevent the event, he said.

Tsering, a resident of Yalojopa town in Kardze county, is now about 40 years old and was a healthy young man when authorities arrested him in 2008, Thinley said.

“My friends in Tibet told me that he looked weak and poor in health, but his actual health is difficult to comment on at this time,” he said.

Tsering was detained with 10 other protestors on March 18, 2008, for participating in a protest rally in Kardze town, Thinley said.

He was detained for about seven months before he was finally sentenced to seven years in prison by the Kardze’s People Intermediate Court on October 30, 2008, and sent to Mian Yang jail, he said.

Monk detained without clear reason

Earlier this week, authorities detained a 43-year-old monk from Labrang Tashikyil monastery in Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of northwest China’s Gansu province, without providing a reason, a former Tibetan political prisoner named Golog Jigme, who now lives in Switzerland, told RFA.

He said no one had any further information about Jamyang Jinpa’s whereabouts since he was detained last Friday.

Jinpa, who had joined the monastery in 1993 after mastering an oral recitation of Buddhist text, also had been detained in May 2008 by authorities along with about 170 other monks after they searched their rooms, Jigme said.

Authorities held Jinpa for 40 days, although they released most of the other monks, he said.

During his time in detention, Jinpa was severely beaten and tortured by authorities who hung him up and restrained him by chaining his legs and hands, said Jigme, who shared a cell with the monk.

“When we were cellmates both of us were punished with what they called the “tiger bench,” he said, a form of torture used in China where inmates are cuffed or tied to a long bench in a way designed to keep their legs bent for long periods, causing pain when the restraints are tightened.

Reported by Sonam Wangdu of RFA’s Tibetan Service.Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.





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