Tibetan who witnessed China’s bloody crackdown released from prison after about 5 years

Former political prisoner Samdup greets Sherphel (in hat) at latter’s home, with a portrait of Dalai Lama seen in the background.

Chinese authorities released a Tibetan man named Sherphel from prison after almost five years in Serthar (Ch: Seda) County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

Sherphel was released last year on 25 November after serving four years and ten months in prison for taking part in a protest against Chinese rule in Serthar County in 2012. The news of Sherphel’s release took time in reaching the outside world due to security clampdown including restrictions on sharing information in Tibet. Upon his arrival home in Onsa Village in Shomar Township, he was greeted by his family members and friend Samdup who was also released the same year in August.

Sherphel was detained for taking part in massive protest marches staged by local Tibetans on 23 and 24 January 2012 respectively in Drango and Serthar. In Serthar, over 300 Tibetans gathered and shouted slogans calling for the “Return of the Dalai Lama!” and “Freedom for Tibet!” The protest was violently suppressed by a large number of paramilitary troops. In addition to beating and kicking the protesters, armed police engaged in indiscriminate firing killing at least two and injuring 10 Tibetans. Sherphel was detained that day along with other protesters.

In Drango, Chinese paramilitary troops fired upon unarmed protesters killing four Tibetans and injuring many others. Many were arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned. Local Chinese court sentenced seven Tibetans to 10 to 13 years imprisonment in addition to imposing fines in Drango. In Serthar, four Tibetans were given sentences ranging from three to seven years.


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