Ailing former Tibetan political prisoner interrogated and put under house arrest

Shonu Palden

An ailing former Tibetan political prisoner was interrogated for hours and then put under house arrest earlier today by local Chinese authorities in Machu (Ch: Maqu) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo. 

Shonu Palden, 40, was summoned at 10 am local time to the Bhelpan (Ch: Awangcan) Township police station where he was interrogated by a group of County and Prefecture Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. The interrogation went on until 7 pm. From 10 am to 2 pm, he was interrogated by the Township police officers while being made to wait for the County and Prefecture PSB officers. From 2 to 7 pm, it was the County and Prefecture PSB officers who interrogated Shonu Palden. The PSB officers also confiscated his mobile phone for “further investigation” and ordered him to stay put at his residence until further notice.

During the interrogation, Shonu Palden was questioned about a report published by TCHRD a week ago that detailed the hardships faced by him and his family following his imprisonment and subsequent ill health due to torture injuries. The father of three, whose 8 yr-old daughter was denied school admission because of his past political activities, was severely reprimanded for allegedly sharing “unnecessary details” about his situation with outsiders. “The [interrogation] officers insisted that there was a ‘political objective’ behind this sharing of information with outsiders,” a reliable source informed TCHRD on the condition of anonymity.

Following today’s incident, there are legitimate fears among Shonu Palden’s family and relatives that he would be subjected to arbitrary detention any day that would further jeopardise his already fragile health. The family has already gone through numerous hardships due to the imprisonment and ongoing ill health of Shonu Palden.

TCHRD urges the Chinese authorities to stop retaliatory actions against Shonu Palden and instead provide him proper medical treatment and allow his daughter to join school. Under international law, it is unlawful to discriminate someone for exercising his or her conscience. It is unacceptable that a child is subjected to punishment for the political activities of her father. Chinese authorities can no longer disregard and discredit the genuine and ever-increasing grievances of Tibetans by clubbing them under the deceptive label of so-called ‘national security crimes’.

TCHRD appeals the international community to help end Chinese government reprisals against Shonu Palden. Chinese authorities must be pressured to stop violating basic rights and fundamental freedoms of Shonu Palden who had already suffered enough. Shonu Palden was tortured and imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of assembly. His daughter, Namgyal Dolma, has been denied the right to education because her father is a former political prisoner.

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