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Buddhist monk dies from police torture

AsiaNews/RFA, Jan 23, 2012

Geshi Tsultrim Gyatso, 51, dies after six months in detention in a Qinghai prison. Police does not deny occurrence but claims it is “not responsible” for his death outside of prison. Chinese repression in Tibet continues unabated.

Dharamsala, India -- Geshi Tsultrim Gyatso, a Buddhist monk respected for his religious activities and commitment to Tibetan culture, died from the effects of torture by Chinese police during six months of detention. His death illustrates China’s relentless crackdown in Tibet and other provinces with a Tibetan majority.

According to writer Woeser, who has lived in Beijing for years, the authorities arrested the 51-year-old monk in July 2011 in Hainan Prefecture. He was released in December 2011 to be taken to hospital where all efforts to save him proved fruitless. He was dismissed a few days ago and died at home on 22 January.

"Just a 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 22 January,” Woeser said, citing local sources.

The authorities do not deny his death but claim, “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.

Gyaltso had been on China’s ‘suspects’ list since 2006 after he had participated in the Kalachakra Buddhist ritual in India led by the Dalai Lama.

In March 2008, he had taken part in a peaceful protest with 60 other monks from his monastery demanding freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. He had been also fighting to preserve the Tibetan language and culture.

In Tibet, the situation is deteriorating. In the past few months, 16 people, mostly Buddhist religious men and women, have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and justice for their country.

Beijing has responded to the crisis by blaming the Dalai Lama for these acts, despite the fact that that the Buddhist leader has repeatedly asked his compatriots not to use suicide as a tool of struggle.


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