12/28/2017, 13.02
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Tibetan monk faces death in prison for celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday

Already in poor health when he was arrested in 2015, he has been forced to perform hard labour and has been subjected to torture. Family members can see him only for a few minutes at a time and cannot provide him with medicines. Repression continues in Tibet.

Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) - The life of a Tibetan monk, jailed for celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday, is at risk because of failing health, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing Tibetan sources.

Choekyi, a monk at Phurbu monastery in Sichuan’s Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) County, was already in poor health before his arrest in 2015 on a charge of conducting “separatist activities”.

“He had kidney problems, jaundice, and other health-related issues which then got worse because he was tortured in detention,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His condition worsened as prison authorities forced him to perform hard labour, the source added.

Choekyi is in Sichuan’s Mianyang prison. Family members and other relatives have been allowed to visit, but last October orders were passed that family meetings would be limited to five to ten minutes.

Family members are also not allowed now to bring food or medicine for him.

In Tibet, Chinese authorities have cracked down whenever the country’s exiled spiritual leader is mentioned. Displays by Tibetans of his photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past.

Self-immolations and other sporadic protests challenging Beijing’s rule and calling for the Dalai Lama’s return have continued in Tibetan areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

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