Tibetan Political Prisoner Released in Poor Health

Tsewang Dakpa, a Tibetan political prisoner in his late twenties, originally from Jangtha region of Drangon, Sichuan province, has been released in poor health on June 5, after serving a five year sentence. Dakpa was one of three monks arrested on June 6, 2008 in Drangon Tzong region of eastern Tibet, after staging a peaceful demonstration in front of the regional Chinese government headquarters. Dakpa and the two other monks, Thupten Gyatso and Jansem Nyima, called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and freedom for Tibetans inside Tibet.

According to eyewitness accounts, the Chinese security forces beat the monks at the site of the demonstration causing injuries that required hospitalization.

The monks were reportedly interrogated by the authorities despite having sustained severe injuries from the beating, during which Tsewang Dakpa claimed full responsibility for the planning of the protest. In November 2008, the Chinese court in Karze sentenced Dakpa to a five year prison term. Due to Dakpa’s confession, Jansem Nyima from Jyekundo and Thupten Gyatso from Kham Tawu, received more lenient sentences of two and three years respectively.

A VOA Tibetan source from India has said that Dakpa continued to suffer torture at the hands of prison guards during his incarceration.

The protest of these three monks took place few months after the widespread Tibetan uprising of Spring 2008, where thousands of Tibetans across the plateau rose against China’s repressive policies and for greater freedom.