Tibetans worried about Palden Gyatso, herald of freedom

The monk, who spent 33 years in re-education camps and regular prisons, is refusing invasive medical treatment. At 85, “I am happy and blessed to have lived this long,” he said.


Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – The people of Tibet people at home and in the diaspora are apprehensive about the ever-deteriorating health of Lama Palden Gyatso, who spent 33 years of detention and torture in Chinese prisons for refusing to repudiate the Dalai Lama.

The 85-year-old monk, who has been bed-ridden for weeks in the Kirti Jepa monastery, has asked not to be subjected to more invasive medical treatment.

“I am happy and blessed to have lived this long,” Gyatso told those who visited him. “I was blessed in prison as well when I almost starved to death but survived unlike many of my friends who died in front of me.”

Born in 1933 Panam, Tibet, the monk entered the monastery of Gadong as a novice in 1943.  At the invitation of the 14th Dalai Lama, he moved to Drepung to complete his studies of Dharma and receive full ordination as a Gelugpa monk.

In 1959, when China cracked down on Tibet, he was arrested for protesting against his country's occupation. This was followed by 33 years in Chinese prisons.

In both regular prisons and labour camps, he was forced to work and was tortured leaving him with serious permanent injuries.

Upon his release in 1992, he joined the Tibetan diaspora in Dharamsala (India) and since then has dedicated himself to denouncing the conditions in which his fellow Tibetans live under Chinese rule and the violence that takes place in Communist prisons against Tibetans.

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