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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."


May 10, 2009

Agam's Gecko Blog
May 8, 2009

A Tibetan lama who had recorded a video testimony
last year after being detained and physically
abused by Chinese security forces has been
released from his second stint of incarceration
in the past year. Meanwhile a monk in Ngaba
Prefecture, who may have admitted to sending
information to the outside world about Tabey's
attempted self-immolation in February, remains
missing and is feared dead. Some information has
escaped the plateau through China's steel
curtain, in the form of accounts and photos of
the students' march in Labrang last month.

Lama Jigme Guri was seized off the street on
March 22, 2008 as he returned to Labrang
Monastery from the town market. He was held for
several months during which time he was severely
tortured, and nearly died of his injuries. At
that point he was released to his family, as some
other Tibetans have been after suffering abuse
which nearly killed them. The expectation seems
to be that they will die in their family's
custody, and the Chinese will thus not be blamed
for killing them. Jigme survived after spending
three weeks in hospital, and later returned to his monastery.

Sometime in August Lama Jigme recorded a video
testimony of his ordeal (faithful readers will
recall that the Tibetan name "Jigme" translates
as "Fearless"). The video was acquired by VOA's
Tibetan language program Kunleng, and broadcast
last September 3. Jigme went into hiding, living
in the mountains and visiting safe houses until
the approaching winter made that impossible. He
returned again to Labrang around the beginning of
November (after police had assured his family
that he was safe from arrest), and on November 4
around 70 officers of the People's Armed Police
and Public Security Bureau seized him from his
monk's quarters and took him to an unknown location.

The 42 year old monk, who had been ordained at
Labrang at the age of 13, mastered religious
thangka painting and butter sculpture arts, and
later headed the monastery's vocational training
centre, was also the vice-chairman of its
Democratic Management Committee (the Communist
Party's oversight and disciplinary body within
every Tibetan religious institution) at the time
of his first arrest. Upon his latest release on
May 3, after six months in his second abusive
stretch of Chinese prison treatment, local
accounts say that he is looking very frail and weak.

Once again, the heroes in this case are the same
two Chinese civil rights lawyers who took on
Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche's case, leading to its
indefinite postponement last month. One of the
two, Li Fangping, told the London Times that
Jigme had been released "on bail", and that the
mere prospect of legal assistance seemed to be enough to do the trick.

"When the police told him that lawyers had come
forward to help him, he said he wanted legal
representation. Before we even had time to see him, he had been released."

Mr. Li and his partner, Mr. Jiang Tianyong said
that Jigme had been warned by police not to give
interviews and to see "as few people as possible."

The International Campaign for Tibet clarifies
the bail issue from accounts by Tibetan sources.
The release falls under something called "qubao
houshen" which are restrictions on one's
movements, associations, communications and other
conditions. Violations of any of the conditions
may result in further detention without trial.
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