China jails Tibetan monk for 5 years for alleged splittism

An undated photo of Jigme Gyatso. (Photo courtesy RFA)
An undated photo of Jigme Gyatso. (Photo courtesy RFA)

(, Sep10, 2014) – China has given a five-year jail sentence on Sep 5 to a Tibetan Buddhist monk belonging to the famed Labrang Monastery in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) County of Kanlho (Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu Province, after having subjected him to repeated detentions and torture since 2006.  Jigme Gyatso (also known as Labrang Jigme or Jigme Goril) was tried and convicted by a court in the provincial capital Lanzhou for alleged splittism. He had been denied access by his family throughout his detentions and his whereabouts still remain unknown, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Sep 8.

The report cited a local source as saying the monk’s conviction came after a second trial during which the Chinese government prosecutor insisted that he was “guilty of actions to split the nation”.

The monk’s second trial and conviction came after his latest detention in Aug 2011. This was his fourth detention over a period of five years.

Splittism is commonly used to convict Tibetans for all sorts of campaign, artistic, intellectual or other actions seen by Chinese government and party officials as being critical of its rule in Tibet.

Jigme Gyatso was first detained in 2006 after returned to Labrang from India where he had attended a religious ceremony conducted by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. He was released after being questioned for a month.

In 2008, the monk was detained for a year in the wake of a wave of Tibetan protests that year against Chinese rule, which led Beijing to close down the entire Tibetan Plateau for non-Chinese foreign visitors and subject the residents to a brutal persecution and political education campaign. He was released after being severely beaten during his detention.

In 2009, Gyatso became a well known figure after a video testimony speaking about his brutal treatment in detention was widely circulated on the Internet.

Jigme Gyatso was again held in 2010, and subjected to political “re-education” for six months in a hotel.


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