Death reported of Labrang monk who spoke out on human rights
[5 April] Jamyang Jinpa, who was detained following a protest in front of foreign journalists at Labrang monastery in April 2008, has died almost certainly as a result of internal injuries sustained when severely tortured whilst in detention. Jamyang is the second monk known to have died from the group of 15 monks that participated in the protest. Images from the protest were broadcast around the world.
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Jamyang Jinpa, 37, was detained the day after the foreign press visited Labrang monastery in Gansu province. The reporters were on a tightly organised tour organised and facilitated by the Chinese authorities with the intention of showing the media that life in Tibet was back to normal after the widespread protests across the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas.
Due to his knowledge of English, Jamyang had been acting as a guide for the press. When a group of monks unfurled Tibetan flags and began talking to the journalists, Jamyang Jinpa joined in, telling the journalists about the lack of human rights in Tibet.
Jamyang Jinpa was released from detention a month later suffering from a number of injuries, including a loss of eyesight and the inability to stand or walk. It is believed he was released by the authorites so that he did not die in custody, which is a common practice with regards to prisoners who have been severly torutred. Despite medical treatment over the past two years, Jamyang Jinpa died on 3 April.
Sangey Gyatso, one of the protagonists of the Labrang protest, died on 26 February, after living for more than a year in hiding from the Chinese authorities. Sangey Gyatso's health was already known to be fragile and after living in the mountains for a year he was refused medical treatment from local hospitals purportedly due to his involvement in the protest.
Of the 15 Labrang monks who so bravely spoke out about human rights to the visiting reporters, two have died almost certainly as a result of having protested (Jamyang Jinpa from the long-term effects from injuries sustained and Sangey Gyatso from being forced to go into hiding) and three have escaped from Tibet and are now living in exile.
Following protests that had taken place at Labrang monastery in March and April 2008, local police undertook an intense search of the monastery and monk's living quarters, detaining a large number of the monks, many of whom were tortured whilst in detention. Two monks who had taken part in a demonstration in March were held for a year before being tried and sentenced. During this time the local authorities denied their families access and did not inform them about the trial. Both received draconian sentences; Tsultrim Gyatso is now serving life and Thabkhe Gyatso 15 years.
Further information: ICT report I Footage of 2008 protest
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