Tenzin Nyima(left), before he arrested by Chinese police and after he was tortured by Chinese polices(right). Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala, India— A young Tibetan monk passed away on January 19, 2020 after suffering serious torments and repeated beatings at the hands of Chinese police while he was still under Chinese custody. He was only 19 years old at the time of his untimely and unfair death.

Tenzin Nyima also known as Tamey. He was initially detained along with other three monks Kunsal 20, Soetra and Tsultrim both around 18 years in age, two days after when hundreds of hand-written flyers of Tibet’s independence were discovered scattered around outside a Chinese local government office on November 7, 2019. Two other young men, Yonten and Choegyal hailing from Dza Wonpo were detained after staging similar protests and sharing related videos on WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app.

Nyimey, Choegyal’s younger brother was also detained on November 18, 2019 for showing his solidarity with protest by fellow monks from Dza Wonpo Gaden Shedrup Monastery and a post criticising Chinese repressive policy in the occupied region. The protests took place as the forcibly resettled nomads and local Tibetans in the area were pressured by the local Chinese officials to acclaim the Chinese government’s “poverty alleviation” program.

Tenzin Nyima was a young 19-year old Tibetan monk. He was from Dza Wonpo town, Sershul County, Karze (Ch: Ganzi) Prefecture in the traditional Kham province of Tibet. Six other Tibetans including the four monks and two laymen hailing from the same county and have been sentenced up to five years in Chinese prisons for the same protests that occurred in the area. After his arbitrary detention on November 9, 2019, he was briefly released in May 2020 before being arrested again on 11 August.

Tenzin Nyima was tortured inhumanly by the Chinese officials while in custody. He suffered severe beatings resulting in serious injuries. The deceased was not given proper food leading to a deteriorated health, so much so that he was unable to move or speak. He was in vegetative state. Chinese prison authorities informed his family of his serious health condition and told them to take him from the prison in early October, 2020.

Tenzin Nyima’s family immediately took him to a hospital in Chengdu on October 6, 2020. Where he was admitted but the doctors declared that his condition was critical and his injuries beyond treatment. The family raised the required funds of RMB 40,0000 for his treatment through donations. After several weeks without improvement in his condition, he was discharged according to source. The family admitted him in few other hospitals in the hope that he could be treated: he was paralyzed, comatose and gravely ill. His family got him admitted in a hospital in Dartsedo, Karze prefecture on November 10, 2020, but there too the doctors gave up and discharged him. The family then brought him back to their home where he passed soon after on 19 January 2021.

“I pray that he be reborn again in Tibet as a great patriot and continue the freedom struggle. We will never forget their sacrifices and relentlessly pursue the aspirations of six million Tibetans till it’s fulfilled,” addressed Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of Central Tibetan Administration while expressing sadness and condolences to Tenzin Nyima’s family members.

The trials of Tenzin Nyima and six other Tibetans took place at the Intermediate People’s Court in Sershul County on 10 and 12 November according to the source. The Chinese court sentenced the monks Choephel (or Kunsal), 20, to four years, Soetra (also called Woeser) to three years and Tsultrim, 16, to one year. Tenzin Nyima (Tamey) was charged with the same offence, but the court did not announce his sentence because of his medical condition. Nyimey, a 22-year-old monk was handed the longest prison term of five years for his social media posts on the protest in Dza Wonpo. Tsultrim, who was under 15 years old at the time of protest, a minor, was still tried and sentenced contrary to Chinese and international laws. Choegyal and Yonten were sentenced to four years in prison each on charge of “incitement to split the country”.

China-Tibet: The one thing you need to know

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 were non-existent in Tibet. Surveillance, repression and arbitrary arrests are daily routine. Despite the continued suppression, the Tibetan people choose the path of nonviolent 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 fuelling 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.