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Jigme Gyatso escapes from Tibet, arrives safely in exile PDF Print E-mail
[21 May 2014] Former political prisoner Jigme Gyatso arrived safely in Dharamsala, northern India on 18 May, having managed to evade capture and escape from Tibet. The monk and activist is probably best known in exile for assisting Dhondup Wangchen on the film Leaving Fear Behind.

Jigme Gyatso in DharamsalaThe news of Jigme Gyatso's arrival in exile (pictured right) was announced by the website Filming for Tibet, set up by the Dhondup Wangchen's cousin, Gyaljong Tsetrin. The statement said, "Filming for Tibet is happy to share the amazing news of Golog Jigmes safe arrival in Dharamsala, India."

Jigme Gyatso (aka Golog Jigme) is currently under the care of the Tibetan Reception Centre in Dharamsala. Details of his escape are not yet known. He is expected to give a press conference in the coming days.

Jigme Gyatso was born in 1969 in Golog Serta, Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), Kham (now incorporate into China's Sichuan province). He was a monk at Labrang monastery in Gansu, where he became known as a social activist and was described as a "monk of moral integrity and a sincere social worker". He taught children about Tibetan culture, promoted the Tibetan language and was involved in various social welfare concerns. In 2010, he assisted in relief efforts following the Yushu earthquake.

In 2008, Jigme was arrested by the Chinese authorities for assisting Dhondhup Wangchen in interviewing Tibetans about their lives under china's rule. The footage was smuggled out and became the documentary Leaving Fear Behind. Jigme was held in custody for seven months, during which time he was tortured and beaten. Following his release, Jigme was subject to strict surveillance and constant harassment.

In September 2012, reports were received that Jigme had disappeared. It was later reported that he had been re-arrested by the Chinese authorities, though the reasons for the arrest were not known. Details of Jigme's whereabouts during the intervening months between his disappearance in September 2012 and his arrival in Dharamsala are not yet known.

Reporters Without Borders recently named Jigme Gyatso as one of their 100 "information heroes" to mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

Dhondup Wangchen is currently serving a six-year prison sentence and is expected to be released on 5 June.
 
Further reading: Filming for TIbet I Tibet Post I Phayul
Two Tibetan political prisoners in international spotlight (7 May, Tibet Society)
Take Action for Dhondup Wangchen (Tibet Society)
Watch Leaving Fear Behind (via Youtube)


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