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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."

Respected Monk Succumbs To 'Torture'

January 25, 2012



A highly respected Tibetan Buddhist monk who had championed the rights of Tibetans died on Sunday after allegedly undergoing torture in prison by Chinese authorities in western China's Qinghai Province.

Geshi Tsultrim Gyaltso, who was 51, succumbed to injuries sustained in prison since his arrest in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in July 2011, according to Beijing based Tibetan writer Woeser.

Quoting local sources, she told RFA that Gyaltso was incapacitated and looked frail as the authorities handed him over to his family a few days ago following hospitalization. 

"At the end of December, he was taken to a local hospital, owing to severe torture sustained in prison," Woeser said. 

"Just few days ago, the local hospital returned him to his family. He was physically incapacitated and frail due to maltreatment in prison. He passed away at home on January 22."

When contacted, Chinese police in Qinghai told RFA they were not aware of Gyaltso's case and that they were not responsible for his death.

"We are not responsible for a prisoner's death which occurred outside the prison. We handled many cases of detention and releases [and are] not aware of this particular case," a police staff said. 

Chinese police had thrown Gyaltso in a prison in Qinghai province's Haidong prefecture after arresting him in July last year while lecturing at a school in Hainan's Trika (in Chinese, Guide) county. 

'Suspect' list

Woeser said Gyaltso was placed on the "suspect" list by Chinese authorities on his return from the 2006 "Kalachakra" Buddhist ritual in India presided over by Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

He had also given speeches and taken part in a peaceful protest along with 60 monks at a monastery in March, 2008 where they raised slogans calling for a free Tibet and displayed portraits of the Dalai Lama.

Gyaltso had also played a "pivotal" role for the preservation and protection of the Tibetan language and culture, she said.

His death came amid a Chinese security crackdown in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibetan majority areas in Chinese provinces.

Sixteen Tibetans, mostly monks, have self immolated since March last year as they protested against Beijing's rule and called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.


Tensions in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in Tibetan-populated areas in China's provinces have not subsided since anti-China protests swept through the Tibetan Plateau in March 2008.

Chinese authorities have blamed the Dalai Lama for the tense situation, saying he is encouraging the self-immolations, which run contrary to Buddhist teachings.

But the Dalai Lama blamed China's "ruthless and illogical" policy toward Tibet.

He called on the Chinese government to change its "repressive" policies in Tibet, citing the crackdown on monasteries and policies curtailing the use of the Tibetan language.

Reported by Lobsang Choephel for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.

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