Tibetans in prison-deceased lama’s county under severe Chinese clampdown

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

(TibetanReview.net, Aug14, 2015) – Fearing protests over the prison death in highly suspicious circumstances on Jul 12 of their revered religious and community leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Chinese authorities in Nyagchu (Chinese: Yajiang) County of Karze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, have launched a severe clampdown on the local Tibetans, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Aug 12. It cited an exile Tibetan with local contacts as saying the Chinese had rushed troops, including the paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force, cut off communication links, and restricted the movement of local Tibetans who are subjected to political re-education and whose youngsters are required to undergo army drills.

After the death of the 65-year-old Rinpoche, the authorities ordered the Tibetans not to talk about the circumstances in which it had occurred, saying this could lead to riots. They insisted that it occurred due to natural causes, although this failed to explain why the authorities cremated his body in prison rather than releasing it to his family or monastery for a proper traditional funeral, or why they snatched his ashes as they were being taken to his home county.

Rinpoche’s Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchub Choling Monastery has been rendered off-limits for local Tibetans. They were earlier prevented from attending death prayer services for Rinpoche in that monastery.

The local Tibetan youngsters were said to be forced to take part in army drills, with those failing to do so being detained and subjected to re-education over several days.

Police and paramilitary police units were reported to have been deployed in large numbers in the county, especially around the late rinpoche’s monastery.

Rinpoche, it may be recalled, was falsely implicated in an unsolved bomb explosions campaign as his activism in the fields of cultural and environment protection and in providing health, education and shelter for the elderly and poor had earned him immense popularity but severe resentment from the local officials. They detained him in 2002 and sentence him to death with a two-year reprieve in Jan 2003, later commuting it to life sentence.


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