China jails four Tibetans for two years each over religious activities

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Dharamshala — The Chinese authorities have sentenced four Tibetans from Serta county in eastern Tibet to two years of imprisonment each, following their arrest on two occasions for engaging in religious activities.

These activities simply entailed offering prayers to Buddha, Tibetan religious leaders, and Mountain Deities, seeking protection for their community and all its members.

According to sources, the four Tibetans, namely Gelo, Tsedho, Bhamo, and Kori, hailing from Serta County, were initially arrested by Chinese authorities. Tragically, another Tibetan, Shukdar, faced a brutal fate, succumbing to severe torture while in custody after their first arrest on August 24, 2022. Subsequently, the Chinese police re-apprehended them in September, merely two months after their release in July 2023, and sentenced them to four years of imprisonment. The court responsible for this decision remains undisclosed, leaving their current state of health shrouded in uncertainty.

"After enduring a year of detention, the four Tibetans were liberated in July 2023, only to be rearrested by Chinese authorities in September of the same year in Serta County. They were then transported to Karze County, eastern Tibet, where they received a two-year sentence each. Presently, they languish in Ya'an Prison, situated in Ya'an city, Sichuan province, China," disclosed an exclusive source to TPI.

As per the same informant, Tsedho, Bhamo, and Gelo are slated to serve one and a half years in prison, factoring in their prior months of detainment. Regrettably, Khore will endure the full two-year prison term, as the Chinese authorities failed to acknowledge his previous period of incarceration.

Gelo, Tsedho, Bhamo, Kori, and Shukdar hail from Awokyi Rigo village in Khekor Township, Serta County, eastern Tibet. These five individuals are revered for their upstanding character and benevolent nature, earning them roles in organizing religious activities within their community. Shukdar, who fell victim to the Chinese authorities, was a 52-year-old family man. His father, Thubwo, aged 71, and mother, 75, were left to mourn his loss. Shukdar leaves behind a wife and children, further amplifying the tragedy.

China-Tibet: The One Thing You Need to Know

Over the past seven decades, Tibet has weathered relentless political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental degradation, and cultural erasure. These trials have been compounded by the influx of Chinese migrants, fueling profound resentment among the occupied Tibetan populace. In their native land, people of Tibet confront the marginalisation of natural resources, Chinese racism, political oppression, social discrimination, and the suffocating grasp of communist dictatorship. Furthermore, there exists a deliberate campaign aimed at the total eradication of Tibetan culture and language, perpetuating a state of cultural-linguistic annihilationism.

Over this period, the people of Tibet have been subjected to China's multifaceted and insidious foreign policies, utilizing socioeconomic and political tools such as the debt trap and economic leverage, all under the guise of the "one-China-policy." These policies have resulted in the complete denial of economic benefits and control, social support and services, political self-determination, as well as religious and cultural-linguistic freedoms for Tibetans inside Tibet.

Moreover, fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of the press, expression, gathering, discussion, and assembly have been brutally suppressed, leaving the Tibetan people bereft of basic human rights and dignity. China's ruthless pillaging of Tibet knows no bounds. They've ravaged every corner, stripping the land of its natural resources, plundering its fresh water, and decimating thousands of forests for timber. Yet, even this insatiable greed cannot come close to rectifying the chasm of devastation left in their wake.

Despite China's shameless exploitation, the meager spoils extracted from Tibet pale in comparison to the economic gains they've enjoyed over the past fifty years. The wounds inflicted upon Tibet run deep, leaving behind a legacy of suffering and deprivation that continues to haunt its people. China's relentless pursuit of profit has left Tibetans impoverished and disenfranchised, while their own coffers overflow with ill-gotten gains. This blatant disregard for human dignity and environmental sustainability is a stain on China's conscience, a testament to their callous indifference towards the plight of the Tibetan people.

The communist-totalitarian regime of China commenced its invasion of Tibet in 1949, culminating in complete occupation by 1959. Since then, more than 1.2 million Tibetans, constituting 20% of the nation's six million inhabitants, have perished due to China's aggressive annexation and subsequent rule. Additionally, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious sanctuaries—monasteries, temples, and shrines—have either been plundered or razed, leading to the obliteration of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet stood as an independent bastion of Buddhism nestled in the Himalayas, largely isolated from the outside world. It thrived as a reservoir of Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, fostering a rich cultural heritage. Religion served as a unifying force among Tibetans, alongside their distinct language, literature, art, and worldview, sculpted by the challenges of high-altitude living amidst a harsh yet harmonious environment.