A Tibetan woman jailed for four years in China’s Sichuan province for blocking police from seizing the remains of a self-immolation protester has been released in poor health after serving her full sentence, a Tibetan source says.
Tsedrup Kyi, 32, was freed on April 5 and returned to her home in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county at around 11:00 that night, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“More than 200 Tibetans, including her family members and relatives, were present to welcome her home,” RFA’s source said.
“[Kyi’s] health was poor throughout her detention, and she had to stay in the prison hospital for about a year,” the source said, adding, “At the time of her release, she was asked to pay back 30,000 yuan [U.S. $4,349] the authorities had spent on treating her.”
“She endured many other hardships while in prison,” he said.
News of Kyi's release was briefly delayed in reaching outside contacts owing to communications clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in the area.
Kyi had been sentenced for her involvement in the Dec. 3, 2012 self-immolation protest of Lobsang Gendun, a native of Sele Thang township in Pema (Banma) county in neighboring Qinghai province’s Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, RFA’s source said.
“After Lobsang Gendun set himself on fire and died during his protest, Tsedrup Kyi held onto his body, prayed over him, and called for freedom for Tibet and the return of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama,” he said.
“She was then detained and later given a four-year sentence and jailed in [Sichuan’s] Mianyang prison."
“She is now 32 years old. Her father’s name is Konchok Ngora, and she has eight siblings. She also has a son named Patsal Kyab,” he said.
Struggle over body
Chinese security forces and Tibetan residents tussled over the body of Lobsang Gendun, 29, who had walked about 300 steps with his hands folded in prayer and shouted slogans before collapsing dead on the ground, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
“Police and public security officers then arrived at the scene and attempted to take his body away,” one source said.
“However, the local Tibetans managed to wrest his body away from the Chinese and brought it to a monastery,” he said.
A total of 148 Tibetans living in China have set themselves ablaze in protests since the wave of self-immolations began in 2009. Of these 125 are known to have died.
Most protests feature demands 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 Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.