A Tibetan writer jailed for three years for criticizing Chinese government policies in Tibet died this week in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu after suffering ill health for eight years following his release, Tibetan sources say.
Ra Tsering Dhondup, who wrote under the pen name Shinglo Marpo, was a monk at the Rongtha monastery in Khyungchu county in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and was 34 at the time of his death.
Dhondup was arrested in February 2010 for publishing a magazine “whose content criticized the Chinese communist government,” Gendun Tsering—a friend and former colleague of Dhondup’s now living in India—told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He was first detained in Barkham and was later sent to Mianyang Prison to complete his three-year sentence,” Tsering said. “He was released in 2013, but he was in failing health, and later he succumbed to liver disease and passed away.”
A magazine published by Dhondup had described conditions in Tibet after protests opposing Chinese rule swept the region in 2008, leading to hundreds of arrests and deaths at the hands of Chinese security forces, another friend of Dhondup said, also speaking from exile.
“Ra Tsering Dhondup, another friend, and I myself worked on that magazine together. However, it was published only once,” he said.
Because of harsh treatment and lack of medical care in prison, Dhondup’s condition had severely deteriorated during the eight years following his release, said Tenzin Dawa, a researcher at the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
Tibetan political prisoners suffering ill health are sometimes freed in critical condition before the end of their term, with at least seven reported during the last year to have died—either in prison or after their release—from injuries inflicted under torture in custody, sources say.
”This is the Chinese government’s way of avoiding responsibility for their crimes,” Dawa said
Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force 70 years ago.
Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the region, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.
Reported by Ugyen Tenzin and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.