Published By Tashi

Yonten Gyatso/File photo

DHARAMSHALA: A leading Tibetan monk of Khashi monastery in Ngaba who has invested his efforts in the preservation of Tibetan language and culture, and keeping unity among Tibetans, was sentenced to 7 years in prison on trumped-up charges on 18 June.

Yonten Gyatso behind bars at an unknown location

The Intermediate People’s Court in Ngaba allegedly charged Lho Yonten Gyatso, 37, over sending information to the United Nations Human Rights Council about the political situation in Tibet since the 2008 protest and releasing information and photo of Tenzin Wangmo after she set herself on fire on 17 October last year.  He is currently lodged in a jail in Mianyang in China’s Sichuan Province.

On 18 October last year, Yonten Gyatso disappeared under mysterious circumstances from Ngaba, and his well-being and whereabouts remained unknown for the past six months. But a reliable information said he was in fact secretly detained and forcibly taken away to Sichuan by intelligence officials in Chengdu in collaboration with army officials in Ngaba. He was kept in a jail in Bungyang in Sichuan and severely tortured, pushing him at one point to the brink of suicide. He was later handed over to a relevant office in Ngaba, where the Intermediate People’s Court recently meted out to him a harsh 7-year prison sentence.

Yonten Gyatso prominently worked as Khashi monastery’s disciplinarian and head of the religious management committee. He was involved in the establishment of a Tibetan school in Khashi with the help of financial support from local businessmen in 1992.  He taught Tibetan language at the school. He took a leading role in inviting scholars to encourage Tibetans across Ngaba to keep alive Tibet’s identity through preserving its distinct religion, culture, language, tradition, and morality.  He has shown indomitable courage and determination in promoting unity and disseminating His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings among the Tibetan public.

Khashi Monastery is located 2 kms to the west of main Ngaba town.

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