By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 8: A Tibetan monk from the restive Ngaba region has reportedly been sentenced to four years in prison after being held incommunicado for over a year and seven months, according to Voice of Tibet. Rinchen Tsultrim was detained on Aug 1, 2019 along with two other monks from Ngaba County’s Kordo area in Eastern Tibet’s Amdo region.
According to an anonymous source in India, his family was informed on March 26 this year that Rinchen was sentenced to four years in prison at Chengdu prison. While the other two monks were released after a few days, his whereabouts remained unknown until today. In Mar 2020, his family had received an official letter almost eight months after he went missing, where no details were provided except that Rinchen Tsultrim is “a traitor”.
The 29-year-old monk was earlier detained on two occasions by Chinese authorities in 2018 for communicating with exiled Tibetans via micro-messaging apps, after his personal phone was examined. Tsultrim was later barred from using any micro-messaging apps.
He was again detained in 2019 for communicating with an exile Tibetan on the occasion of 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s birthday. His WeChat profile picture of his sister in India at an educational workshop was used to label her as being politically active in exile.
Rinchen Tsultrim was a monk at the renowned Nangshe monastery of Bon religion from a young age. His humble family background of farming comes from Ngaba region; his father, Tashi Dhondup and mother Tsomo have five other children.