By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 19 Oct: Wangchen, a former Tibetan political prisoner, is currently receiving treatment at an army hospital in Lhasa due to injuries sustained from severe beatings by the Chinese police in Lhasa. According to a report by Tibet Times yesterday, he was arrested for allegedly travelling without the necessary documents and permission.
Wangchen and his family, who are from Kham Sershul Karze, were reportedly visiting Lhasa city for a pilgrimage. The Lhasa police authorities accused Wangchen and his family of travelling without permission and the required documents and of sharing photos and videos on their social media.
After interrogations and brutal beatings, Wangchen has sustained severe abdominal injuries, among others, and is currently being treated at an army hospital located below Sera Monastery, as reported.
Citing a source from Tibet, the Tibet Times confirmed that Wangchen did not have the necessary permit to travel to other places. “The Chinese authorities had confiscated his rightful documents and other papers. When he went with his family on a pilgrimage to Lhasa in July this year, he was arrested by the Chinese authorities and subjected to heavy beatings.”
The Chinese authorities intended to transport Wangchen back to his hometown of Sershul, but he experienced a severe stomach ache at the airport. The report says the airline authorities refused to allow him to board the flight, citing Wangchen’s lack of the required supporting medical papers.
Upon medical examination, it was revealed that Wangchen’s stomach pain was a result of severe injuries sustained from police beatings.
In 2019, Wangchen, along with his friends Lobsang and Yonten, and another boy who is mute, staged a protest calling for the release of Panchen Lama and the reunion of Panchen Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama in Tibet. The Chinese authorities arrested the three of them, except the mute.
While Lobsang and Yonten were released after six months, Wangchen received a four-year jail sentence. He was released in April of this year.
Wangchen’s aunt, Dolkar, was also arrested in May 2019 on trumped-up charges of stirring up trouble and for sharing information about Wangchen and his friend’s arrest. She received a one-year and three-month prison sentence.
On 15 August 2020, she was released without prior information. Due to hard labour and torture during her time in prison, Dolkar’s health remains fragile, and her leg and hand movements are severely impaired, the report concluded.