(TibetanReview.net, May12’20) – For being found to carry a photo of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, in his mobile phone handset China has detailed and then banned him from travelling out of his village in Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) City of Tibet Autonomous Region for the past eight years, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org May 11. The Chinese have accused Jampa Sonam, 59, of complicity with separatists for having the photo in his mobile handset.
A resident of Lhachu Village in Chamdo’s Dzogang (Zuogong) County, he was found to carry the photo in his mobile handset during a random street inspection by police in Tibet’s capital Lhasa where he was selling walnut from his homeland for his livelihood.
“A Lhasa Public Security Bureau officer took him into custody on Nov 20, 2012 and held him in detention for five days,” the report quoted a Canada-resident Tibetan named Lobsang Tashi as saying, citing Chamdo contacts.
“He was accused of associating with separatists and accomplices of the Dalai Lama, and since then he has remained under Chinese surveillance, with his freedom of movement severely restricted,” Tashi was quoted as saying.
He was apparently handed over to the police in his home prefecture-level city after the five-day detention for decision on his fate.
“Now, whenever Jampa Sonam needs to go outside his place of residence, he needs to ask permission from the Chinese authorities first at the village and then at the township level,” Tashi was quoted as saying, adding, “Thus, he has remained in a virtual prison for the last eight years.”
The report noted that more recently, at the end of 2019, a 75-year-old Tibetan named Jampa Dorje and his son were taken away by Chinese police in Dzogang County for listening to religious teachings by the Dalai Lama.
Before that, in Jul 2019, a Tibetan resident of what is now part of China’s Sichuan province was taken into custody for sharing a photo of the Dalai Lama on the WeChat Chinese social media platform, the report added.