By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug 9: A high-profile Tibetan businessman named Dorje Tashi who is currently serving life imprisonment in Drapchi prison is reportedly in serious health condition, according to Tibet.net. Considered as one of the wealthiest Tibetan businessmen, Tashi was detained after 2008 protests on the suspicion of making donations to exile Tibetan as a cover for his alleged covert support for the movement.
Dorje Tashi is the owner of the famous Yak Hotel in Lhasa. He was held in detention since July 10, 2008 but was put on trial in 2010 at the Lhasa People’s Intermediate Court on the charges of “loan fraud”. According to the report, Dorje has suffered prolonged torture in prison for the past years. As a result, he has a severe heart condition, bruised body and haemorrhoids. Chinese officials have denied frequent requests by his family and lawyer to meet him.
According to Dharamshala based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) report, the first appeal was made by his lawyer in 2013 at the Lhasa court, which did not receive a response for 6 years, only to be rejected in Nov 2019. Another appeal was filed the following month which gave way for Dorje’s lawyer Wang Fei to meet his client in Lhasa prison on January 6 last year. The high-profile individual, despite his connection in the Communist Party, was not saved from the heavy sentence. As a member of the CCP since 2003, he had also met with former Chinese President Hu Jintao and the former premier Wen Jiabao in 2005.
Following his sentence, the Chinese authorities reportedly seized the businessman’s properties including 530 million Yuan, and the government also took over the famous Yak Hotel in Lhasa and another hotel in Shigatse. Dorje Tashi’s younger brother Dorje Tsetan and his relatives, Dugkar Tsering and Tsultrim were also detained alongside him. Tsetan was sentenced to 6 years, Tsering to 5 years, and Tsultrim received 2 year sentence.
The imprisoned businessman was also once awarded the “Outstanding Private Business Award”, Shigatse Prefecture’s “Poverty Alleviation Special Contribution Award”, Gansu Provincial Committee and provincial government’s “Contribution to the Public Economy Development of Gannan Award” for Gannan Prefecture, according to High Peaks Pure Earth. It also said that he was given Communist Youth League Committee’s “Youth Civilization” individual achievement award, which is given every ten years.