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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Monk Who Put Video on YouTube Out of Jail

May 10, 2009

Independent OnLine (South Africa)
May 7, 2009

Beijing - A Tibetan Buddhist monk who was detained for six months without charges after he posted a video alleging rights abuse on YouTube has been released, two of his lawyers and an overseas group said Thursday.

The senior monk, Jigme, who like many Tibetans uses just one name, was detained after he put an account on YouTube about being abused when he was detained previously during a crackdown that followed riots across Tibetan areas of China in March 2008.

Jiang Tianyong said he and another well-known activist lawyer, Li Fangping, went last week to Xiahe county, the site of Jigme's Labrang monastery in western Gansu province, but were not able to see Jigme, or a police officer in charge of the case.

"I learnt yesterday that he was just released. We don't know why he was taken, why he was released or the terms of his release," Jiang said.

Hundreds of people have been detained in the crackdown after deadly rioting in Tibet's capital of Lhasa on March 14, and more than 70 sentenced in quick trials. Tibet's self-proclaimed government-in-exile says they did not receive a fair trial.

Li said it is likely Jigme was released on bail, but police didn't show the family or him any evidence and gave no explanation. The case was handled by the provincial public security bureau, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

Jigme was seized by police on Nov. 4 when he returned to the Labrang monastery in Xiahe after being in hiding, according to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, a Tibetan advocacy group.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press in September, Jigme described how he was interrogated and abused for two months after four uniformed guards dragged him into a van in March last year.

An account of his detention was posted on YouTube after which he went into hiding. Jigme said he took no part in the protests, the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades, that killed 22 people in Tibet's capital Lhasa, according to Chinese officials.

China claims Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries and that Beijing's tight control is draining them of their culture and identity. - Sapa-AP
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