Dharamshala: A former Tibetan political prisoner monk Agyal Tsering passed away on Sunday morning, 18 December 2022, around 8:15 a.m. local time in Tibet, according to a reliable source. He was 71 years old.
On 8 March 1990, he was initially arrested by the Chinese police in Kyegudo (Ch: Jiegu), Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province. He was later imprisoned for 18 months on suspicion of distributing books containing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s lectures and speeches and disseminating leaflets calling for Tibet’s independence. While in prison, he endured multiple torturous ordeals.
On 24 October 1999, he was arrested again in Karze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture with two other monks, Geshe Sonam Phuntsok and Sonam Choephel. Few days later, on 31 October, around 3000 Tibetan citizens held a peaceful protest in Karze and demanded the release of the three monks. The Chinese government responded by deploying police forces who fired shots into the crowd and arresting at least 80 Tibetans. Agyal Tsering was sentenced to three years of imprisonment after the incident.
Among Agyal Tsering’s generous deeds were leading various fundraising events to erect a prayer wheel (Tib: རིེས་མེད་ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཆོས་འཁོར་དར་རྒྱས་གླིང་།) in Yulshul’s Chumarleb (Ch: Qumalai) county for the benefit of the residents, as described in Nagtsang Nulu’s autobiography at the time.
Agyal Tsering was born in 1952 to Samten (བསམ་གཏན།) and Yangkyi (དབྱངས་སྐྱིད།) in the village of Rongpa Tsajori (རོང་པ་ཚ་ཇོ་རི།) in the Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the traditional province of Kham. Also known by the names of Lama Lobsang, Apho Agyal, or Lobsang Tenzin, he was a monk at Tehor Dhargay monastery.
-Filed by the UN, EU, and the Human Rights Desk, Tibet Advocacy Section, DIIR