Report confirms two arrests, five tortured to death in Tibet

Dharamsala, December 24: Two Tibetans, including an abbot of a monastery, were arrested by Chinese Public Security Bureau officials in Tibet last month, according to a report published by the Tibet’s Government-in-Exile on its official website on Monday.

According to the report, while an unnamed Tibetan youth was arrested in Lhasa on 20 November for raising slogan of Tibet’s independence, the reason for the arrest of Khenpo Jampa Gyaltsen, abbot of Woeser monastery in Markham County of Chamdo Prefecture in Tibet, from his monastery on 28 November remained unknown.

“According to reliable information received from Tibet, a Tibetan youth aged around 20 was brutally beaten and arrested by officials of the Public Security Bureau for raising slogan of Tibet’s independence in the capital Lhasa around 5 p.m. on 20 November,” the report said.

In a separate incident, the report said, officials of Public Security Bureau arrested officials of Public Security Bureau arrested the abbot of Woeser monastery in Markham, Khenpo Jampa Gyaltsen, from his monastery on 28 November.

No further details were there in the report in both the cases.

The report, a latest “Updates on casualties in Tibet demonstration”, by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, which has been vigilantly monitoring the situation inside Tibet since March anti-China unrests, also showed that five more Tibetans were confirmed to have died as a result of being beaten, tortured or denied medical attention either during or in the aftermath of the China’s brutal crackdown on the Tibetan uprising.

“Meanwhile, sources continue to send information on Tibetans killed during brutal torture sessions by the Chinese security officials following its crackdown on peaceful demonstrations by Tibetans in the capital Lhasa in March this year,” the report said.

The five victims have been identified as Sonam Phuntsok and his wife (unnamed), Jampa Lhamo, 45, from Chamdo, Tenzin Norbu from Lhasa, Ngawang Tsering from Markham.

Following is the full account of the five Tibetans, as published on the official website of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, who have died as a result of torture or denial of medical attention by the Chinese communist authorities:

1. Sonam Phuntsok, born in Mepa Chagso Tengpa, Markham County, (Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region), was severely beaten by armed personnel and officials of the public security bureau for taking part in peaceful protest in Lhasa on 14 March 2008.

His wife, who was blind, cried and begged the security officials not to beat her husband, but officials hit her on the head with baton rendering her unconscious, sources said. She succumbed to her injuries after her husband was taken into protective custody.

On 18 March, Sonam Phuntsok joined other Tibetan prisoners and shouted slogans of Tibet independence and for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, following which he along with fellow prisoners were severely beaten by prison guards. He died as a result of head injury sustained during torture by prison officials with electric baton. There were also reports about deaths of other prisoners under similar circumstances.

Begging was main source of livelihood of Sonam Phuntsok and his wife, who spent their last twenty years near the entrance to Ramoche Tsuglagkhang in Lhasa. After their deaths, there is no one to look after their two sons, aged 9 and 7.

2. Jampa Lhamo, aged 45, born in Khyungpo Tengcheng County (Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region) and a permanent resident of Ramoche in Lhasa, was severely tortured since her detention on 29 March 2008.

At the time of release, she was in a debilitating condition due to torture. There was no improvement in her health condition despite undergoing medical treatment and she finally died on 28 November at her home, sources said.

3. Tenzin Norbu, born in Meldro Gongkar county, Lhasa, was arrested for his role in peaceful demonstration in Lhasa and Phenpo and underwent severe torture during detention. Later, his body was handed over to his family by the relevant department of Lhundrup county. He is survived by his wife and three children aged between 1 and 7. The name of the prison and its location is still unknown.

4. Ngawang Tsering was born in Mepa town, Markham County (Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region). He was admitted to hospital in Lhasa on 13 March and the doctors said he was in need of blood.

But the Chinese government, following its brutal crackdown on peaceful Tibetan protesters since 14 March, had issued strict orders that the army needed blood and no one should donate blood to Tibetans.

Despite repeated appeal, no one came forward to give blood to Ngawang Tenzin due to which he died in the hospital. But it was not clear whether it was TAR People’s hospital or Lhasa Municipality People’s hospital.

After China unleashed a massive and brutal clampdown on Tibetan demonstrations, Tibet remained under intense military lockdown. China blocked communications and, kicked out journalists and tourists out of Tibet, making it almost impossible for the outside world to verify the situation inside the region and obtain timely information.

Tibetan Government-in-exile says Chinese military crackdown has killed some 200 Tibetans since protests broke out in March. But, observers say the exact number could be even much higher, as, in most cases, information of death or enforced and involuntary disappearance of Tibetans only begin to surface over a period of time, proving extremely difficult for any accurate assessment.

It often takes months or even years to relay information, deemed sensitive by Chinese Community authorities, to the outside world; and if caught doing so would attract harsh and heavy penalty often with the accusation of endangering China’s “state security”.

Only recently, a 41-year old Wangdu, who first disappeared in Lhasa on March 14 amidst escalating anti-China demonstration, was charged with passing information regarding the protest to the outside world and was given a life term sentence.

His family had no news of him until Nov 8, when the Lhasa Evening News carried a lengthy article detailing his conviction for several alleged crimes. The sentencing in November only became known to the outside world last week after English translations of the article appeared on the internet.

Wangdu, had been working in Lhasa as a HIV/Aids project officer with the Burnet Institute, a leading Australian medical non-governmental organization. The organization has also said they did not hear from or of Wangdu since March.

Six other Tibetans, who were accused of conspiring with him, received sentences of between 10 years and 15 years. They were convicted for their alleged involvement in crimes of ‘espionage’, ‘endangering State security’ and ‘illegally providing information to outside agents’.

Phayul[Wednesday, December 24, 2008 18:21]
By Phurbu Thinley