05/31/2011, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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Tibetan monk dies after 15 years in prison

Jampa Pelsang was arrested in 1996 during a “re-education campaign” ordered by Chinese authorities against Tibetan monks. He was arrested for resisting the campaign along with dozens of other monks, many of whom died during their years in prison.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Monk Jampa Pelsang aka Puloe died on 23 May. He had been released from Chushul prison on 6 May in very serious conditions. He had spent 15 years in prison for opposing a “re-education campaign” launched by Chinese authorities in May 1996 against the monasteries of Sera, Gaden and Drepung in Lhasa, Tibet.

In May 1996, Chinese authorities began their campaign by banning all photos of the Dalai Lama (it is still a criminal offence to have one) and preventing monks from praying in order to force them to take part in indoctrination meetings.

Monks reacted by staging a protest, telling government officials to leave. The military responded by taking over the monasteries and violently crushing the protest. Two monks, Gelek Jinpa and Dorjee, were wounded, and more than 100 were thrown out.

Dozens were arrested between 5 and 7 May. Jampa was taken into custody on 6 May 1996, along with another 62 monks. Thirty-two were handed down sentences ranging from one to 15 years in prison, whilst the others were sent to “re-education-through-labour” camps, i.e. forced labour camps.

Viewed as the leader of the protest movement, Jampa received 15 years, which he purged in the prisons of Lhasa, Drapchi and Chushul.

Born in Dri-gung, Meldro Gungkar County (Lhasa), he had entered the Gaden Monastery at an early age.

Tenzin Yeshi was convicted along with Jampa. He too died soon after his release.

Lobsang Wangchuk, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, died in Drapchi prison on 4 May 1998, shot by a guard during a peaceful protest.

China has often been accused of allowing torture and harsh condition for inmates in its prisons. (NC)

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