By Tenzin Monlam
Choekyi, a monk of Phurbu Monastery. Photo-VOT
DHARAMSHALA, December 22: A Tibetan political prisoner jailed since 2015 for celebrating the 80th Birthday of Tibetan spiritual leader is currently in poor health, reports Voice of Tibet.
Choekyi, a monk of Phurbu monastery in Serta County, was arrested on charges of engaging in ‘anti government’ activities and sentenced to a four-year imprisonment term. He was then wearing a t-shirt with Tibetan texts ‘kue-gya-ton-su’ on the back, which loosely translates into ‘celebrating His Holiness’s 80th Birthday’.
“Even before his arrest he was ill health. Since his imprisonment, his health has been deteriorating due to all the labor and suppression his had to suffer,” said a source on condition of anonymity.
The source also added that his family members were allowed monthly visitation and were also permitted to bring food for him. However, since October of this year, the prison authorities have forbidden the monk’s family to bring food for him.
Chinese police arrested him while he was shopping along with his father near the premises of the monastery and took him to the Serta administrative compound. His niece Kyizom and nephew Drakpa were also detained but later released after being detained for a several days. However, Drakpa was given strict orders to report to the local Chinese government office every day for further questioning.
Choekyi’s family, comprised of father Gyanyuk and mother Tsering Kyi, reside in Sho Dewa village in Serta County.
Choekyi’s was not an isolated case of Tibetans arrested for celebrating His Holiness’s 80th Birthday. Tsering Dondrup, 25, of Dugkar family in Manggo village, was detained for posting images of the Tibetan flag and the Dalai Lama on WeChat.
Monks from Ngaba Kirti Monastery Drukda, 50 was sentenced to 14 years in prison in December 2016 for organizing a celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday. Lobsang Khedup, 44, too was arrested for his involvement in setting up a prayer ceremony on His Holiness on his 80th Birthday.