Another custodial death, sources confirm Tibetan man arrested and tortured to death by China in 2019

Norsang(inset) father of six who died while Chinese police custody in 2019 after being subjected to horrendous torture and sufferings.


DHARAMSALA, 5 May: A Tibetan man in his mid-30 from eastern Tibet has died while in the custody of the Chinese authorities in 2019.

“Norsang, father of six from Shak Rongpo(ཤག་རོང་པོ) in the Traditional Tibetan province of Kham died after he was subjected to horrendous torture and sufferings by the Chinese authorities after his arrest,” a source in exile in the know told the Tibet Express.

Though the custodial death occurred in 2019, the source attested that the heavy internet regulation in place in the region as well as the surveillance and restrictions stopped the story from breaking out.

“Norsang who hails from Shak Rongpo region’s Ghe-SO-Sa-Ba Village (གེ་སོ་སྲ་བྷ་གྲོང) was arrested in Sept. 2019 along with several other Tibetans from Ghe-So-Tsa-li village,( གེ་སོ་ཚ་ལྷིས་གྲོང་)  by the Chinese authorities on the pretext of sending them to a political reeducation camp,” the source added.

While others were gradually released one after another except for Norsang, not a word was heard about his condition and his whereabouts for nearly two years because of China’s iron grip on the region, the source added.

“Norsang, around 35 years of age died in Chinese custody in 2019 as he suffered horrendous torture and sufferings following his arrest.”

After being ranked the second least free place on earth for five years in a row, the US-based watchdog group Freedom House has declared Tibet as the joint least-free country in the world in its 2021 annual survey of freedom in the world.

Similar to Norsang’s case, in Feb earlier this year, the Tibet Express broke out the story of  China’s harsh 13 years sentence to Namdak that took place in 2013. Likewise, Shurmo, a 26-year-old man’s self-immolation protest against the Chinese rule on 17 September 2015 made its way in the news report only in Jan this year.

Though the Chinese authorities have tried to brush off the incident by claiming that he committed suicide by jumping off a bridge as he couldn’t pay back a huge loan, the source said it is baseless as he said “Norsang has taken no loan” and while describing him as an “economically well off.”

After his custodial death, the source added that the Chinese authorities frequented his village for several days and ransacked his home and thereby troubling his pregnant wife at great length.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamsala-based rights group called out China in its 2020 annual report for  the “surge in arbitrary arrests and detention, extrajudicial killings enabling the culture of endemic and systematic torture.”

Norsang now joins the long list of Tibetans to have perished in a Chinese prison, often under mysterious circumstances.

Like Norsang, Kunchok Jinpa, another Tibetan from restive Driru County in Nagchu, Traditional Tibetan Province of Kham has passed away in Chinese state custody earlier this year in Feb while  Lhamo, a mother of three, also died in Chinese state custody in Aug. 2020.

TCHRD’s annual report also called out China for the rampant practice of “secret and incommunicado detention of Tibetans” as it stated that in the report that “more Tibetans are arbitrarily detained for so-called criminal acts of possessing the Dalai Lama’s photos or advocating for environmental, cultural and language rights.”

“Norsang has always disapproved and objected to China’s political reeducation policy and the Chinese propaganda glorifying the communist regime,” the source added.

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