A well-known former Tibetan political prisoner who went “missing” after he staged a lone protest last week in Lhasa has been located in Sog County where he has been detained by the Chinese authorities. Lodoe Gyatso, also known as Sogkhar Lodoe, shouted slogans in the ground in front of the Potala Palace on 28 January, following which he was unheard of.
Just before his demonstration on 28 January, Lodoe Gyatso circumambulated the Potala Palace. According to our sources, Chinese authorities immediately arrested Lodoe Gyatso and later took him to Sog County where he is currently held in detention. It is unclear what were the slogans and demands Lodoe Gyatso raised.
In a video recording of less than two minutes duration, apparently shot just before his peaceful protest, Lodoe Gyatso shares about his plans to organize a peaceful demonstration. Lodoe Gyatso talks about the Tibetan people’s commitment for world peace and non-violence under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “On this day of 28 January, 2018, I commit to organize activities for world peace. Tashi Delek,” Sogkhar Lodoe says in the video.
Lodoe Gyatso, 57, was jailed for 21 years during which he was subjected to torture. On 17 January 1993, he was first sentenced to 15 years in Drapchi Prison in Lhasa by the Nagchu Intermediate People’s Court. On 4 March 1995, Lodoe Gyatso led a protest inside the notorious Drapchi prison and shouted, “Tibet is independent”, “China out of Tibet”, “May His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for ten thousand years”, and “Six million Tibetans are united”. He also distributed over 300 hand-written pamphlets. Within three days of his protest, local authorities decided to procure execution order for Lodoe Gyatso. However, international intervention and pressure resulted in the extension of Lodoe’s prison term by six more years instead of execution, amounting to 21 years’ imprisonment in total. He was released in May 2013 but was put under house arrest for the next four years.
In 2016, Lodoe Gyatso was arbitrarily detained in Tsamda prison in Driru county after he criticized the local authorities’ actions. The local government of Sog county and Driru county had ordered all monks and nuns from the area studying in other parts of Tibet to return. The monks and nuns were threatened of consequences such as imprisonment of family members and ban on caterpillar fungus (Tib: Yartsagunbu) harvesting if not complied with. Lodoe Gyatso protested that it is against the international law and the Chinese law to do so, since the Tibetan monks and nuns have not committed any crimes. He was released after few months in weak health.
According to our sources, Lodoe Gyatso was planning to stage peaceful political protests and raise slogans after his house arrest ended in May 2017.
Lodoe Gyatso is from Soghkar village in Tsadog township, Sog county, Nagchu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
– Report filed by UN/EU and HR Desk, DIIR –