By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Feb 7: Former Tibetan political prisoner Lodoe Gyatso, who was reported missing since Jan 28 from Lhasa, Tibet’s capital is in a Chinese prison in Sog County as feared by his family members.
“On the day Sogkhar Lodoe was reported missing, he circumambulated the Potala Palace and staged a solo peaceful protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Chinese officials whisked him away from the site and later took him to a prison in Sog County,” Tibetan Parliamentarian Ngawang Tharpa told Tibet Express.
Though it is unclear what slogans and demands Lodoe Gyatso has raised during the protest and uncertainty looms on his conditions and the charges levied against him, in a short video which appears to be shot just before the protest, Lodoe talks about the Tibetan people’s commitment for world peace and non-violence under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The video concludes with him committing to organize a movement for world peace on the day he went missing.
Gyatso, 57 years old was previously arrested in 1991 on alleged murder charges and sentenced to 15 years in Drapchi prison. While serving his sentence, he led a protest in the prison against China’s occupation of Tibet, called for Tibet’s independence and shouted slogans calling for His Holiness’ long life and unity of the Tibetan people on March 4, 1995.
Following his protest, the prison officials wrote to the court and pressed for his death sentence but after repeated appeals by the Amnesty International and United Nations for Clemency, Chinese authorities waved off the death sentence and Gyatso was sentenced to six additional years.
After completing his 21 years’ sentence and enduring callous torture, Gyatso at the age of 52 was released in poor health from the notorious Chushul prison on the outskirt of the Tibetan capital city Lhasa on May 2, 2013, only to be rearrested later on May 14, 2016, on unknown charges. He was released on July 19, 2016, yet again in poor health after his second sentence having endured callous torture in Chinese prison camps.