Radio Free Asia: Tibetan Kills Himself to End Torture in Jail

Radio Free Asia

■ A Tibetan man detained by Chinese police on unknown charges has killed himself in custody to end brutal torture at the hands of his jailers, according to a source living in the region.

Tashi, a member of the Deyang family aged in his 30s, died on March 11 in the Tsangshul detention center in Markham (in Chinese, Mangkang) county in the Chamdo (Changdu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

Map showing location of Markham county in the Tibet
Autonomous Region. RFA

He had been taken into custody by police shortly before the March 10 anniversary of a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He was severely beaten and tortured while in detention, and became so desperate that he ended his life,” the source said. It was not clear how he took his life.

Following Tashi’s death, a group of local Tibetans staged a protest in front of the Chinese police station, and authorities later detained everyone whose images they had captured on video, the source said.

“All Tibetan businessmen and women working outside Markham have now been ordered to return to their homes within 15 days,” he added.

Internet blocked

News of Tashi’s death was briefly delayed in reaching outside contacts because of a strict communications clampdown imposed by Chinese authorities in the area, and the reasons for Tashi’s detention were not immediately clear.

“The Internet has been blocked in Markham county for quite some time, and it has been difficult to get more information on why Tashi was detained by the police,” the source said.

The number of Tibetans taken into custody for protesting Tashi’s death is also not clear, he said.

“Members of government task forces assigned to different areas of Markham are now investigating and monitoring the activities of Tibetan families,” he added.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule and calling for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

Reported by Dawa Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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