Choechok, is a monk at the village monastery in Dzamey Wonpo, Serchul County, eastern Tibet. Photo: TPI

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Dharamshala, India — The Tibetan political prisoner Choechok has been released after over 2 years in a Chinese prison and his health condition and other details are unknown. He was arrested by the Chinese authorities in connection with a social media post.

Choechok, is a monk at the village monastery in Dzamey Wonpo, Serchul County, eastern Tibet. He was released from prison on February 6, 2020, after serving two years,” said Ven Jampa Yonten, a monk from Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe South India.

“His present health condition and other details for his release are still not known,” the Tibetan monk living in India told TPI, citing contacts in the region. Choechok was arrested by the Chinese authorities in December 2017.

Sources believe his arrest was related to a post he made on the Chinese messaging app WeChat. In the post in December 2017, Chochok used the picture of Konpe, a Tibetan monk who self-immolated, as the background.

A number of Tibetans have been arbitrarily arrested every year for simply expressing their views about desire for freedom and their sufferings of the complete lockdown by the Chinese Communist-authoritarian regime.

Why Tibet matters

1.2 Million Tibetans have been killed in this conflict since Tibet was violently and illegally occupied, according to international law, by China in 1949/1950. More than 100,000 Tibetans have been forced to flee their homeland and now live in Exile communities around the world. Until today, rule of law or basic human rights are non-existent in Tibet. Surveillance, repression and arbitrary arrests are daily routine. Despite the continued suppression, the Tibetan people choose the path of non-violent resistance and for that, they deserve our utmost respect and full support.

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse — unifying theme among the Tibetans — as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.