The biggest crime of the 37 years old Yunten, was that he have sent the information and photos of self-immolator nun Tenzin Wangmo to the media outlets outside the country. Therefore, he was sentenced for 7 years imprisonment. The monk serves the sentence in Mianyang prison in Sichuan Province.
It has been reported that on 18 October last year, Lho Yonten Gyatso from Khashe monastery in Khashe Village, Ngaba County in Amdo region of north-eastern Tibet, has disappeared and no further information was received for the last six months. However, recently, the information of Yonten Gyatso whereabouts was received. According to Lobsang Yeshi and Kanyak Tsering from Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, India, the monk was arrested by the Chengdu Secret Office and later transferred to Wenjiang detention centre where he was severely tortured. The present health condition of the prisoner is extremely serious and it was even reported that Yonten was attempting to take his own life.
"It is outrageous that China continues to detain Tibetan human rights defenders whose only 'crime' is to share information about events in Tibet. Even if the charges against Yonten Gyatso were true, it doesn't make him a criminal; he let the outside world know about human rights violations in Tibet putting his life at risk," said Tsering Tsomo, executive director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The monk was well known for his social, educational and community leading works. Yonten Gyatso was a supervisor of the Khashe monastery in Tibet Ngaba County as well as a president of the Monastery Management Committee and Social Advise Organisation.
In 1992 he has collected donations from local Khashe Village's businessmen and opened a Remon primary school in Khasheshul village to teach Tibetan language.
During the formal school holidays, Lho Yonten Gyatso would gather students from the local school and monastery and would tutor and lecture on Tibetan Language, culture, history, religion and, most importantly, on Tibetan identity. As the president of Social Advise Organisation, Yonten held many social events in the Ngaba County during which the invited guests would give speeches and teachings, spread and share the knowledge of Tibetan culture and customs. At the same time, Yonten would talk to locals about political and cultural issues and the importance of Tibetan nation's unity. He often cited His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings and general advice to stress his point.
It is normal in Tibet that sharing information to outside world would be considered a big crime. Unfortunately, people in Tibet face this problem as the Chinese government has oppressed the right of speech in Tibet. Also the total control over the media does not only allow people to express themselves, but prevents spreading the information about current shocking events in Tibet.