Go Sherab Gyatso, an eminent Tibetan scholar serving a 10-year prison sentence is currently in ill health caused by beatings and a series of mistreatments since his arrest in October 2020, according to a reliable source.
Lack of proper necessities in prison such as food and medical treatment compounded by beatings has further deteriorated Sherab’s health. Go Sherab has been reportedly suffering from a chronic lung disease, believed to have contracted during his earlier imprisonment in 1998. He has since been on regular medications.
A recent report published by Human Rights Watch expressed major concerns and condemned the Chinese government demanding for the “immediate and unconditional” release of the imprisoned Tibetan monk. In the report, Sophie Richardson, China director at the Human Rights Watch, remarked “Once again the Chinese government’s wrongful imprisonment of a Tibetan risks becoming a death sentence”. “Go Sherab Gyatso should be immediately released and given comprehensive medical care”, she added.
In light of Sherab’s case, many Tibetan prisoners serving long sentence terms have died in the custody of the Chinese police from mistreatments and denial of proper medical care.
Chinese authorities arrested Go Sherab on 26 October 2020 while he was in Chengdu for his medical treatment. However, Go Sherab Gyatso’s case lacked sound and valid evidence in justification of his lengthy prison sentence. The charges made by the Chinese authorities indicate support for Tibetan independence. Another source reported the main ground for his sentence as the content of the book Find your own path, a collection of his recorded talks. But there was no specific incident to substantiate the accusations. He is currently being held in Chushul prison (Prison no. 1 in the Tibet Autonomous Region).
On 21 July 2021, a group of UN experts jointly questioned and expressed serious concern to the Chinese government over the enforced disappearance of Go Sherab Gyatso. In response, the Chinese government on 27 August 2021 said that Go Sherab Gyatso was charged and arrested for suspicion of “inciting secession.” In addition, it was revealed that the Lhasa City Intermediate People’s Court was yet to pronounce a verdict on his case. Tibetan sources later reported that he was given a 10-year sentence.
A reputed and highly outspoken towards preserving Tibetan identity, he was no stranger to conflicts and variance with the Chinese authorities. Prior to the arrest in Chengdu, Go Sherab Gyatso was previously detained several times between 1998 to 2011 for his writings criticizing Chinese policies undermining Tibet and the Tibetan people.
Details of his life story and scholarly publications can be read here.
-Filed by the UN, EU and the Human Rights Desk, Tibet Advocacy Section / DIIR