By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 30: A former Tibetan political prisoner who had served 21 years in Chinese prison has reportedly disappeared from Lhasa since Sunday (Jan. 29). Chinese authorities are suspected to have played key role in the disappearance, sources said.
Lodoe Gyatso, also known as Sogkhar Lodoe, 56, previously served 21 years in Chinese prison for killing a man while defending himself in 1993, according to rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democrarcy. He was also re-arrested in May 2016 without any explanation from Chinese authorities and released two months later in poor health.
In March 1995, while being imprisoned at Drapchi Prison, Lodoe Gyatso undertook a lone protest and shouted slogans such as “Tibet is independent”, “China out of Tibet” “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” “Unity among six million Tibetans”.
Consequently, the Tibet Autonomous Region Intermediate Court sentenced him to death. However, following intense objection by international rights groups and the United Nations, the Chinese government commuted his sentence to 21 years in prison.
Lodoe Gyatso is from Sogkhar Village of Tsadog Township in Sog County, Nagchu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
His disappearance is being linked to his plans to hold a peaceful protest in Lhasa calling for the return of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, demilitarisation of Tibet, and transformation of Tibet into a “zone of peace”.
As of now there is no information on how and why he has disappeared from Tibet, due to intense clampdown on communication channels.