A Tibetan monk has died after being tortured in police custody amid accusations he put up pro-independence posters in a restive Tibetan county in China’s Sichuan province, according to an exile source.
The posters were put up after a series of mass public protests in January and February challenging Chinese rule in Nyagrong (in Chinese, Xinlong) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
“In May, posters calling for Tibetan independence appeared on the walls of a Chinese government building in Nyagrong,” Yeshe Sangpo, a Nyagrong native now living in India, said, citing contacts in the region.
“Consequently, on May 25, Chinese security forces detained a 32-year-old monk named Khawang,” who came originally from the Tapewa nomad group in Kardze, Sangpo said.
“Upon his detention, the authorities tried to force him to confess to having put up the posters,” Sangpo said, adding that when the monk refused to confess, he was “severely tortured and beaten.”
“A few days later, on or around May 28, he died in detention,” Sangpo said.
Khawang was denied medical attention while he was being held, and following his death his family “repeatedly requested” that Chinese authorities return his body to them for prayers and cremation, Sangpo said.
“When his body was returned, the authorities also paid a sum of 28,000 yuan [U.S. $4,425] to his family in compensation.”
“The Chinese never proved that the monk had put up the posters, and he never admitted to having done so,” Sangpo said.
Meanwhile, Chinese security forces continue to hunt down Nyagrong-area Tibetans involved in mass protests held at the beginning of the year.
On March 25, authorities detained four Tibetans, including two monks, during their search for key protest participants.
The protests were held in conjunction with the Tibetan New Year, during which participants complained of lack of freedom and called for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Tenzin Wangyal for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.