DHARAMSHALA: Chinese authorities released Buruna Rinpoche, a senior Tibetan spiritual leader, in uncertain health on Sunday, 17 April, according to media reports. Rinpoche, imprisoned since 2009 for refusing to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was escorted secretly to his home by the Chinese prison authorities.
“Buruna Rinpoche, who was detained in 2008 and sentenced to jail in 2009, was released a few days ago and has returned home,” a source was quoted as saying in the reports. “In the past few years, Rinpoche’s health was reportedly very poor due to torture and a poor diet,” the source has added.
Buruna Rinpoche, also known as Tulku Phurbu Tsering, is the spiritual leader of Buruna nunnery in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (incorporated into China’s Sichuan province).
Chinese authorities have raided the nunnery in May 2008 and have forced the nuns, as part of the Chinese government’s so called patriotic education campaign, to criticise His Holiness the Dalai Lama and their teacher, following which the nuns have staged a protest refusing to sign the document.
As a result, Buruna Rinpoche along with 54 nuns of the nunnery was detained and sentenced to imprisonment in 2009, on charges of inciting separatism.
Buruna nunnery, located on a hilltop in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was completely destroyed by Chinese artillery during the 1959 Tibetan national uprising. However, it was rebuilt in 1983 and expanded in 2000 under the leadership of Buruna Rinpoche. The nunnery, belonging to the Gelugpa sect, houses 89 nuns.