Tibetan monk released after 5 years of imprisonment

Lobsang Jinpa in an undated photo

A Tibetan monk who is also a songwriter was released from prison last month after completing a five-year prison term and returned to his hometown in Tridu (Ch: Chenduo) County in Kyegudo (Ch: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham.

Lobsang Jinpa, 35, was sentenced on 23 February 2013 along with the famous Tibetan singer Lolo who received a six-year prison term at a closed-door trial in Siling (Ch: Xining) city. Lobsang Jinpa, a monk from at Nyatso Zilkar Monastery, was partly targeted for writing the lyrics of a song sung by Lolo called ‘Dear Panchen Lama’ about the previous 10th Panchen Lama and his 11th incarnation who had been disappeared by Chinese authorities since 1995.

Lobsang Jinpa was arbitrarily arrested on 1 September 2012, along with four other monks during a massive raid at Nyatso Zilkar Monastery. Chinese security forces that conducted the surprise raid beat the monks and confiscated the personal possessions of five monks one of whom was Lobsang Jinpa. All five were later detained and sentenced. The raid and subsequent detention of the monks was related to the peaceful protest staged by the monks of the monastery at Tridu County on 8 February 2012.

Lobsang Jinpa’s current condition is unknown due to restrictions on obtaining information from Tibet as Chinese authorities tighten control over the internet and other communication technologies. In 2013, he was briefly released for medical treatment after he developed problems in kidney and liver function.

Lobsang Jinpa, son of Mr. Dhargyal and Mrs. Pema Tso, was born and brought up in Geshing village in Tridu County.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is gravely concerned about Lobsang Jinpa’s health condition and urges the Chinese authorities provide him with proper medical care without any restrictions. The Centre is concerned that since he was imprisoned on political charges, he will now have to serve additional sentence of ‘deprivation of political rights’ that usually varies from 1 to 5 years. Those serving this supplementary sentence are deprived of political rights such as the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, procession, and demonstration.

TCHRD condemns the arbitrary detention of monk Lobsang Jinpa and the subsequent violation of his right to freedom of expression enshrined both in China’s national constitution and in International law. China must respect the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of all Tibetan political prisoners.

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