China releases Tibetan doctor after month-long torture for lack of evidence in self-immolation pictures leak

A Tibetan protester lies in flames on a street in Machu county, Gansu, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo courtesy: RFA)
A Tibetan protester lies in flames on a street in Machu county, Gansu, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(, Jan27, 2017) – Under pressure to find and punish the person or persons responsible for online leaking of pictures of a self-immolation protest which took place on Dec 8, 2016, Chinese police in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) County of Gansu Province had seized, beaten and tortured a Tibetan doctor only to release him a month later for apparent lack of evidence, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jan 25. The Chinese police had taken away Khedup, aged around 50, on Dec 14.

“He was held for over a month in Machu county, and during that time was interrogated and tortured, suffering beatings and other mistreatment at the hands of the police,” the report quoted a local source who spoke on condition of anonymity as saying.

The Chinese police were reported to have suspected the resident doctor of Machu’s Mura Monastery of having sent to the international media photos and video clips of the self-immolation by a 33-year-old Machu-resident named Tashi Rabten. However, “the authorities could not produce any evidence of his (alleged) crime, and he was therefore released on Jan 21, 2017,” the report quoted the source as saying.

Before release, Khedup was warned not to discuss with “outsiders” any details of what had happened to him during his detention. “They said they would be closely watching his daily movements and activities, and warned him that he could be arrested again,” the source was quoted as saying. Police also did not return his mobile phone and other items seized at the time of his detention.

It was not clear why Chinese police suspected Khedub of having sent out those still and video pictures which appeared on the internet not long after the self-immolation took place. Chinese police had detained the widow and two daughters of the self-immolator, just after the incident, for questioning.


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