DHARAMSHALA: Rungye Adak, a prominent Tibetan political prisoner, was released yesterday after completing his eight-year prison sentence. He reached his home at around 01:00 am (Beijing time), according to Atruk Tseten, a member of Tibetan Parliament and a relative of Rungye Adak.
Chinese authorities arrested Adak, a Tibetan nomad from Lithang in the traditional Kham province of Tibet, on 1 August 2007, for raising slogans calling for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet during a popular Tibetan horse-racing festival.
“Did you hear what have happened to us? Did you hear what have happened to us? Although we can move our bodies, we cannot express what is in our hearts. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the one that we six million Tibetans truly need,” Adak have screamed these words to thousands of Tibetans who have gathered at the annual race. He also called for the release of Tibetan political prisoners and freedom for Tibet, urging Tibetans to maintain unity. His daring protest came after a severe crackdown on pro-Dalai Lama sentiments among the Tibetans by Chinese authorities in 2006-07.
Immediately afterwards, he was arrested by Chinese authorities and subsequently sentenced to 8 years in prison for subverting state laws and disrupting public harmony. Several of his close aides and relatives also received sentences of up to 10 years.
Following the pronouncement of the sentence, thousands of Tibetans from all over the region gathered near the local government office demanding his immediate release. The Chinese authorities responded by deploying hundreds of police to crackdown on the peaceful protesters at the time.
Adak’s protest and his subsequent arrest also drew strong criticisms from all around the world. Various media reports also covered the human rights situation inside Tibet following this incident.