China arrests cousin of jailed environmentalist brothers
Phayul[Thursday, July 08, 2010 23:18]
Dharamsala, July 8 – China has arrested a cousin of the three environmentalist brothers currently serving varying prison terms. Tashi Topgyal, a young Tibetan teacher in his early thirties was nabbed from a house in the Tibetan capital Lhasa Monday, reported the Times.

Tashi’s cousins, Karma Samdrup, Rinchen Samdrup and Chime Namgyal are currently in prison serving various terms. Karma Samdrup, was sentenced to 15 years in jail on June 24 for “graverobbing”, a charge that had already been dropped more than a decade ago, and Rinchen Samdrup, the eldest of the three was sentenced to 5 years on July 3 for inciting to split the country”. The youngest brothers Chime Namgyal, is serving 21 months of re-education through labour on the charge of “harming national security”.

Tashi was on a visit to the Tibetan capital from his home in Chamdo to find his cousin named Rinchen Dorji, a monk who was arrested in March. Tashi traced the monk to a hospital in the far western region of Xinjiang, where he had been treated for burns.

Tsering Choephel, in his 60s, and another cousin of the three brothers were punished with 18 months of re-education through labour.

Mr Karma’s wife, Dolker Tso, wrote in a blog, “I don’t know what this threat and terror now proliferating like cancer cells will bring to our family... Tashi Topgyal is the only person from Zirong village with an education. I appeal to Buddha and to the world to help to find him!”

Karma Samdrup, a wealthy businessman and an environmentalist had come out in defense of his two brothers, Rinchen Samdrup and Chime Namgyal who had publicly denounced Chinese government officials for poaching endangered Tibetan species in their native Chamdo.