Release of Tibetan Monk and Political Prisoner, Rinchen Tsultrim, Amidst Continued Surveillance

By Tsering Choephel

A file image of Rinchen Tsultrim, a Tibetan monk and political prisoner.

DHARAMSALA, 3 February: Rinchen Tsultrim, a Tibetan monk and political prisoner, was released after completing his four-and-a-half-year sentence, from Chinese prison on 1 February by the Chinese authority, according to multiple reports. However, he still remains under close surveillance. 

Tsultrim was reportedly released on Thursday and has returned to his home.

However, His health condition after his release from the Chinese prison remains unknown, as the sources, requesting anonymity for security reasons, have expressed fear of divulging information regarding Tsultrim’s health and other details.

An outspoken intellectual monk, Tsultrim began expressing his views through WeChat and a personal Tibetan language website titled “Scepticism on Tibet”. In 2018 the local public security bureau twins warned him to stop expressing opinions critical of Chinese policies online, following which he remained closely monitored, and his website was shut down. 

Arrested on 1 August 2019 on charges of “inciting separatism” and creating “social disharmony,” Tsultrim’s family was only apprised of his imprisonment at (Miyang) prison in Chengdu in March 2021, without additional details. During his incarceration, he reportedly underwent intensive “political education” and forced labour.

Rinchen Tsulrim was a monk at the Nanshing monastery in the Ngaba, located in the erstwhile Tibetan province of Amdo. 

Chinese authorities carry out severe and wide-ranging restrictions on and repression of Tibetans under the pretence of “anti-separatism” in occupied Tibet. Access to and from Tibetan-populated areas remains highly restricted, particularly for journalists, academics and human rights organisations, making it extremely difficult to investigate and document the human rights situation in the region. 

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