-By Radio Free Asia
Rinchen Tsultrim was convicted of ‘working to split the country’ for upholding Tibet’s national identity.
A Tibetan monk serving a four-and-a-half year prison term in China for working to “split the country” has been refused permission to meet with his family, with contact restricted to brief phone calls once a month, RFA has learned.
Rinchen Tsultrim, 29 at the time of his arrest, was taken into custody on July 27, 2019, in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county for expressing his thoughts on Tibetan political and social issues on social media.
Now after serving more than a year of his sentence, Tsultrim is still being blocked from meeting in person with family members, who are not being told about his condition of health following his conviction in a closed trial, a Tibetan living in exile told RFA this week.
“Despite many requests for a meeting with Rinchen Tsultrim, his family has not been allowed to meet with him even once,” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region and speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“But we have learned from an inmate who was released from the prison that Tsultrim now hopes to get a picture of his family, and he may be able in coming days to speak with them on the phone in a 10-minute call allowed to inmates every month,” he said.
Separatism, or “working to split the country,” is an accusation often leveled by Chinese authorities against Tibetans opposing the assimilation of Tibet’s distinctive national and cultural identity into China’s dominant Han culture, and China continues to clamp down on information flows in the region.
Scores of monks, writers, educators and musical performers have been arrested in recent years for sharing news and opinions on social media and for contacting relatives living in exile, sometimes with news of anti-China protests, according to rights groups and other experts. Click here to read more.