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Tibetan monk dead due to custodial brutality by Chinese police, six others jailed for same peaceful protest

(TibetanReview.net, Jan23’21) – A 19-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk has died as a result of severe custodial beating by police in Kandze (or Karze, Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture – which is part of Chinese ruled Tibet – in Sichuan Province, while six other Tibetan youths, including a 16-year-old, who were involved in the same peaceful protest with him in 2019 have been jailed for up to five years, said New York-based Human Rights Watch Jan 21.

The group said that Tenzin Nyima (also called Tamay), who belonged to Dza Wonpo Monastery in Wonpo township of Kandze prefecture, was initially detained on Nov 9, 2019, two days after he and three other Wonpo monks briefly distributed leaflets and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence outside the local Wonpo government office.

It was a part of protests which occurred after local officials not only forcibly resettled nomads and local residents but also pressured them to publicly praise it as the government’s “Poverty Alleviation” program.

Tenzin Nyima was released in May 2020, but rearrested on Aug 11, apparently for sharing news of the arrests online, including with contacts in India.

And then, in early October, prison authorities told his family to collect him due to his medical condition. It turned out that as a result of beatings, malnourishment, and mistreatment in custody, the monk was rendered unable to speak or move, suffering from serious injuries, and had acute respiratory infection.

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He was admitted to a hospital in the provincial capital, Chengdu, on Oct 9, by which time he had lost consciousness.

The group said a hospital report obtained by it indicated that the young monk had been in critical condition for 10 days before being handed over to his family.

The hospital was seen to have delayed treatment until his relatives came up with the necessary funds (RMB 40,000, or US$6,200).

After he spent several weeks in the hospital, doctors declared his injuries to be beyond treatment and discharged him.

His family then had him admitted to a hospital in the prefectural capital Dartsedo (Kangding), still comatose.

But doctors at that hospital also discharged him, saying his condition was terminal, with evidence suggesting that he was paralyzed and gravely ill. He died soon after relatives brought him home.

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The group said the trials of Tenzin Nyima and six other Tibetans took place at the Intermediate People’s Court in the prefecture’s Sershul County on Nov 10 and 12. And on Dec 14, the other four monks from Wonpo Monastery and the two local youths, aged 16 to 23, were sentenced for involvement in one of two protests in Wonpo in Nov 2019 or for spreading news about the first incident. The sentences ranged from one to five years. Tenzin Nyima was not sentenced at the time due to his physical condition.

Monks Nyimay, 22; Choephel (also called Kunsel), 20; So-tra (also called Woezer); and Tsultrim, 16, were jailed for five, four, three and four years respectively. Tsultrim was stated to be 15 at the time of his sentencing.

The two lay Wonpo Town youths were Nyimay’s elder brother Choegyal and his friend Yonten. They were jailed for four years each for “incitement to split the country”, as in the case of the four monks.

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