China’s harsh 13 years sentence to a Tibetan in Driru 7 years ago comes to light

An undated photo of Namdak who has been serving 13 years prison sentence since 2013.

DHARAMSALA, 4  Feb: It transpired that a Tibetan man from restive Driru county in traditional Kham province’s Nagchu prefecture (now incorporated into Tibet Autonomous Region) has been sentenced to thirteen years in prison by the Chinese authorities seven years ago.

“Chinese authorities handed down a 13-year prison sentence to Namdak around July 2013,” a source in exile in the know told the Tibet Express.

Namdak’s case came to light after 7 years owing to the heavy surveillance and restrictions in place in the region.

Tsering Tsomo, the Director of TCHRD, a rights group based in Dharamsala described the situation for Human Rights in the region as egregiously poor if not worst than Syria in Oct last year as she declared murder, torture, and arbitrary detention of Tibetans in Driru by the Chinese authorities as a widespread and systematic attack on Tibetans in the region.

According to the source, Namdak, aged around 34 was given the heavy sentence for aiding Tibetans escaping to India and confided to the notorious Chushul prison near the Tibet’s capital Lhasa.

“Along with him, the Chinese authorities also arrested 6-7 other Tibetans from the region. They were all sentenced to 13 years imprisonment but their names, as well as the charges on which they were sentenced, remains unknown,” the source added.

Further, declaring that Namdak has appendicitis, the Chinese authorities have barred his family and relatives from visiting him over the past two years.

“Hence information on him, as well as his health condition, remains unknown.”

Namdak hails from mere village(མེ་རི་གྲོང་) under Driru county’s Tsa-la township

Additionally, nearly 30 other Tibetans from Tsala township who travelled to India and returned back home were locked up behind bars in Lhasa for two years.

“While in prison they endured torture and developed health complications. Even after their release, for three years, they were banned from picking collecting cordyceps, coerced into labour camps for hard labour and reeducation,” the source said and added that even today they can’t leave the town and county without seeking permission from the Chinese authorities.”

The source also said that the Chinese authorities are constantly rounding up Tibetans who have relatives in India by threatening and intimidating them that they will be banned from collecting cordyceps if they keep contact and send money to their relatives in India.

Similar to Namdak’s case, a self-immolation protest in the region reported to have taken place five years ago came to light only last month.

“Shurmo, a 26-year-old man, has set himself on fire to protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet,” said the CTA on its website Jan 12.

It was reported that the self-immolation protest took place on 17 September 2015 at around 1 pm local time nearby a bus station in Shagchukha village in Driru county,

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