DHARAMSHALA: A Tibetan monk named Jigme Gyatso Labrang, who was serving a five-year imprisonment term in a Chinese prison in Gansu Province, has been released on 26 October 2016.
The Chinese authorities had forewarned family members against organising welcome reception for Jigme Gyatso. At the time of his release, the authorities escorted him to his native village in Labrang in order to curb any kind of publicisation of his release.
According to reports, the Tibetan monk has been strictly warned not to put on his monk robes or join his former monastery in Labrang.
Jigme Gyatso hails from Labrang town in Sangchu county, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (incorporated into China’s Gansu Province).
The Chinese authorities first detained Gyatso in 2006 following his return to Labrang after attending a religious ceremony conducted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India. He has been arrested four times since 2006 for engaging in alleged “splittist activities.”
In 2008, when unprecedented protest broke against the Chinese rule, he was rearrested, severely beaten in police custody and released after a year without formal charges.
He was arrested for the third time in 2010 and was detained for six months in a hotel to undergo political “re-education.” He was last arrested in 2011 on charges of “splitting the nation” and was handed a five-year prison term by the Kanlho People’s Intermediate Court in Gansu.
Labrang region is the home to Labrang Tashikhyil monastery, one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and home to largest number of monks outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. Monks of Labrang monasteries rose up against the Chinese government’s repressive policies as protest from Lhasa spread to other Tibetan areas in 2008.