By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, June 16: A Tibetan youth has been released after over two weeks in prison in Qinghai province as police found in his cellular phone a photo of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag, reported Radio Free Asia.
“I am a faithful Tibetan Buddhist who has absolute reverence for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and so I cannot accept that possession of His Holiness’s picture should be considered illegal,” the young man said on condition of anonymity.
He was arrested from a teashop in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture by the Chinese police.
“The police interrogated me on a variety of issues related to my possession of those incriminating pictures, particularly the Tibetan national flag, and asked me many questions,” he said after spending 15 days in detention.
He was not physically harmed during his detention. However, he was released with a stern warning that if he would be in ‘big trouble’ if found again in possession of such pictures again.
The authorities also warned him not to listen or read news coming from exiled outside China.
Incidents of Tibetans being arrested for possession of the banned images such as the pictures of Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag have been reported in the past, especially after micro-messaging app WeChat’s growing use among Tibetans in Tibet. Gomar Choephel, 47-year-old monk from Rongwo Monastery in Nyenthog Township in Rebkong County was sentenced to two years in prison last year. He was charged with possession of a photo of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and sharing it on social media.