News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan monk released in critical health after serving two years in prison

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Geshe Sonam Gyatso in an undated photo (Photo/Tibet Watch)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, May 29: Tibetan monk Geshe Sonam Gyatso has been released from prison on Thursday in critical health after serving two years in prison for purportedly sending an offering for a prayer and a donation in memoriam of a deceased soul to Kirti Rinpoche (exiled abbot of Kirti Monastery based in India) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, according to multiple sources.

Research group Tibet Watch stated that Sonam Gyatso was arrested on April 3, 2021 by the Chinese police on the ground for sending a small sum of payment during his visit to Chengdu, the capital of the so called Sichuan Province. He spent a year in interrogative detention before being imprisoned in Mianyang Prison, near Chengdu. Following his imprisonment, his sister Tsering Lhamo was also arrested and another monk at Kirti Monastery, Rachung Gendun was arrested just days before Sonam Gyatso on the same charge.    

Speaking to Phayul, the individual who is familiar with the situation and wished to remain anonymous due to China’s aggressive transnational repression said, “Sonam Gyatso was released after serving 2 years in prison and has returned in very poor health condition to Ngawa Autonomous Prefecture’s Kirti Monastery due to the Chinese authorities excessive beating and torture while in prison.

“Subsequently, he is currently seeking medical treatment in one of the hospitals in Chengdu for multiple injuries sustained during his two years in prison.” 

The same source further said that Sonam Gyatso’s sister, Tsering Lhamo was released in April, two months before the actual release month due to her worsening condition and needed an immediate medical treatment. However, monk Rachung Gendun is still serving a 3.6-year sentence. 

The mass detention of monks in the so called Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture’s Kirti Monastery began in October 2021 by the Chinese authorities to crack down against Tibetans who make any contact with the exiled community. They have been subject to aggressive state surveillance, enforcing checks on their mobile phones, among other restrictions. The Chinese Communist Party’s criminalisation of donations to the exiled community is part of the wider operation against freedom of religion and expression of Tibetans.

2 Responses

  1. Chinese people living in Tibet should not remain silent while Tibetans inside Tibet are suffering like these in the 21st century where everyone else is enjoying freedom, if they do they’re equally responsible for this oppression like their CCP’s gov’t!

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