By Tenzin Dharpo
Gartse Jigme after release on Feb. 4, 2018. Photo- Gu-Chu-Sum
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 6: A well known Tibetan writer has been released from Chinese prison after completing a five-year sentence in occupied Tibet. Gartse Jigme is known for his writing on pressing issues of Tibet and Tibetans under Chinese authoritarian rule.
The Tibetan monk was released on Sunday (Feb. 4), and returned to his home the same day in Tsekhog County in the Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan living in exile was cited saying by Radio Free Asia.
The former Tibetan political prisoner is said to have received a warm welcome by his community including his family, friends and fellow monks. He is reported to be in frail condition although without no immediate health complications at the moment.
Jigme, 41, has been banned from speaking at public gatherings and forbidden from returning to his monastery, the Gartse monastery, for one year.
Jigme was arrested in January 2013 following a raid on his monastic quarters. Chinese authorities searched his personal belongings, including his computer, and took him to Siling. Local authorities also issued a ban on the sale of his book, ‘Tsenpoi Nyingtob’ (The King’s Courage).
The second volume of his book has 25-chapters focusing on issues such as the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government-in-exile and the rights of the minority in China. According to sources, the distribution of his book, The Warriors Courage,
was given as a reason for his detention.
Gartse Jigme was born in Gartse in Rebkong region of Malho. He started writing in 1999 and has penned hundreds of essays concerning issue related to Tibet. In 2005, Jigme published his first book ‘Bsam bzhigs nyul ba'i zin tho’ (Diary of Wandering Thoughts)
. Jigme was briefly detained in April 2011 and suffered brutal torture at the hands of Chinese authorities after he published the first volume of ‘The Warrior’s Courage.’
Exiled Tibetan writer Bhuchung Sonam in his book, ‘Yak Horns,’ translates Jigme’s pledge as stated in his banned book:As a Tibetan, I will never give up the struggle for the rights of my people
As a religious person, I will never criticize the leader of my religion
As a writer, I am committed to the power of truth and reality
This is the pledge I make to my fellow Tibetans.