News and Views on Tibet

Gonpo Kyi’s whereabouts unknown, her husband released

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Gonpo Kyi in an undated photo (Photo/CTA)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, Dec 21: Gonpo Kyi’s husband, Choekyong, was reportedly released by the Lhasa police on Dec. 18, after being held for a few days. However, the current whereabouts of Gonpo Kyi remains undisclosed, according to information by Tibet Times. Her husband Choekyong, who was detained for a period of five days, underwent ‘re-education’ during his time in custody. He was reportedly advised against staging any protests in the future. 

On Dec. 13th, the couple was detained for staging a protest outside the Lhasa People’s Court. They were advocating for a retrial for Gonpo Kyi’s brother, Dorjee Tashi, who has been imprisoned since the 2008 pan-Tibetan uprising. Their demonstration also sought visitation rights, which had been denied to them since 2021 despite earlier assurances from officials. However, during their protest, the couple encountered significant force and endured physical assaults by police personnel before being taken to a police station in Lhasa.

Gonpo Kyi had previously staged several protests outside the court, advocating for her brother’s immediate release. She protested against what she deemed an “unfair” verdict, which sentenced her brother to life imprisonment back in 2010. Despite being ‘warned’ and ‘threatened,’ Gonpo Kyi throughout her prior protests endured beatings and torture at the hands of Chinese police. Following these assaults, she was also denied hospital treatment for continuing her protests. 

Observers fear that Kyi who has had numerous confrontations with the Chinese authorities, may be treated harshly this time as she had been warned previously.

Dorjee Tashi, once considered one of the wealthiest people in Tibet, was a member of the Chinese Communist Party in 2003. However, following the 2008 Pan-Tibetan Uprising in Lhasa, he was detained due to suspicions surrounding his donations to the exiled Tibetan community, which authorities interpreted as support for the movement. Despite having his political charges cleared, he was labelled a “secessionist” by Chinese authorities. Subsequently, in 2010, a Chinese court sentenced him to life imprisonment, citing “loan fraud” as the basis for the severe sentence. During his time in prison, Dorjee Tashi has reportedly suffered prolonged torture, resulting in a significant decline in his health. 

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