A Tibetan monk jailed for 10 years for spreading news of a protest calling for Tibetan freedom was released from a prison in Sichuan this week after serving his full term, Tibetan sources said.
Atruk Lopo, a former chant master of Lithang monastery in the Kardze (In Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was freed from Mianyang prison at around 10:00 p.m. on Aug. 21, Lithang Jamyang Tenzin, a Tibetan living in exile, told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“The Lithang [county] police warned him not to speak too much in public before taking him to his home,” Tenzin said, citing contacts in Lithang.
“Local Tibetans were ordered not to greet him on his return, and he was brought back late at night,” Tenzin said.
Also speaking to RFA, Geshe Adruk Tsetan—a member of Tibet’s India-based exile parliament and a relative of Lopo’s—said that Lopo’s present state of health after a decade served in prison is still unknown.
Lopo was arrested on Aug. 21, 2007 by Lithang county public security officers as he called for the release of his uncle Ronggye Adrak, who had called out in public for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama during a horse racing festival held earlier that month.
Adrak was later handed an eight-year term for subverting state power and attempting to “split the country,” while Lopo and a friend named Jamyang Kunkyen were sentenced to 10 and nine years respectively for sending photos of Adrak’s protest to “overseas organizations.”
A fourth man, a Tibetan named Lothok, was given a three-year term for providing information to “foreign organizations.”
The four, who were sentenced together, protested when their sentences were read out in court and were bundled away by police, witnesses told RFA in earlier reports.
“This is not a fair trial,” they called out. “We cannot accept this decision.”
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule and calling for the Dalai Lama’s return have continued in Tibetan areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Reported by Sangye Dorjee for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.