Former Tibetan political prisoner Wangchen, who had recently been released from prison, found himself in a distressing situation in Lhasa, Occupied Tibet. He was reportedly beaten and hospitalized by Lhasa police officials, sparking concerns regarding his safety and well-being, reported Tibet Times.
Wangchen, who had served a four-year prison term and was released in April of this year, had returned to Lhasa with his family members on a pilgrimage from Sershul County, Karze, Tibet. The ordeal began when he was accused of traveling without proper documents and permissions from higher authorities.
A reliable source from Tibet Times revealed that Wangchen had been stripped of his identity card and other documents by Chinese authorities, leaving him without the required travel documentation. However, in June of this year, during a pilgrimage to Lhasa, he was arrested and subjected to severe physical abuse, resulting in injuries to his stomach.
As officials attempted to send him back to his hometown by flight, Wangchen's condition deteriorated further at the airport. Airport security personnel prevented him from boarding due to the lack of a doctor's consent letter to travel. Subsequent medical examinations confirmed the extent of his stomach injuries, leading to his admission to a nearby Army hospital.
This incident has raised concerns about the treatment of former political prisoners and the use of violence against them. Wangchen's prior incarceration stemmed from his involvement in shouting for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama and advocating for the reunification of Panchen Lama and Gyalwa Rinpoche during a smoke offering ceremony in 2019. His friends Lobsang and Yonten were also arrested at the same time but were released after six months. Wangchen was the only one who served a four-year sentence and was only recently freed.
Additionally, Wangchen's aunt, Dolkar, was arrested in May of 2019 for sharing information about their arrest, which was deemed to have caused societal instability. She was sentenced to one year and three months in Rangaka prison. Dolkar's critical health condition prompted her release to her residence on August 15, 2020, without prior notification.
Wangchen, who has his mother and two sisters in his family, has not had the opportunity to attend school. Despite his lack of formal education, he is known for his passion for horse racing activities and is renowned as one of the best riders in his town. He has participated in several horse races and earned awards in locations such as Sershul, Dzatoe, Golok, and Jyekundo.
The incident involving Wangchen serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by former Tibetan political prisoners and the need for ongoing attention to human rights concerns in the region.
Edited and collated by Team TRC