By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 26: On the International Day in support of victims of torture, Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s niece, Nyima Lhamo reiterated her plea for international action on the unresolved case of her uncle’s death in a Chinese prison and demanded an investigation into the circumstances of his arrest that led to his untimely death five years ago on 20th July 2015 in a Chinese prison.
In an initiative by Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Nyima Lhamo in her video message recalled her uncle being subjected to torture that led to his untimely death, “Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a revered Tibetan Buddhist Lama who was falsely convicted by the Chinese authorities. He was imprisoned and tortured severely during his 13 years in a Chinese prison. He was disrobed, subjected to extreme cold and hot water, and asked to prove if he really was a tulku (reincarnate lama) .”
Nyima Lhamo said that her uncle’s disciple, Lobsang Dhondup, 28, was also detained and tortured for 8 months and subsequently executed by the Chinese authorities. The officials have not provided any autopsy results or the certificate of death that could prove that Rinpoche died a natural death. The family and relatives made repeated appeals but were not given custody of his body or his ashes.
300 relatives and disciples of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche held a peaceful demonstration and hunger strike outside the prison gate in 2015 demanding the authorities to show his death certificate. TCHRD urged PRC to investigate the untimely death of Rinpoche and make the investigations public and said it is most necessary to ascertain if the death was caused deliberately or by negligence.
“A genuine, transparent investigation of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death and the prosecution of the responsible officials would send a clear message that the PRC is committed to rule of law and ending the culture of impunity that has allowed human rights violations to occur in Tibet unchecked,” stated the report. The investigation will further procure facts necessary for the prosecution of officials complicit in his death.