Dharamshala — A Tibetan political prisoner released after serving four years and ten months in Chinese prison for allegedly participating in peaceful protests in 2012; calling for Tibet’s independence and against the Chinese repressive policies in Tibet.
After serving his sentence, Sherphel, believed to be in his 30s, returned home on November 25, 2016, where he was welcomed by local Tibetans, including intellectuals, who expressed their sincere appreciation of his signal dedication over many years for the just cause of Tibet, Ven Jigme a Tibetan living in exile told Tibet Post International (TPI).
Sherphel was detained on January 23, 2012 in Serta County (Ch: Seda, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), in eastern Tibet. Before his detention, Sherphel had joined a peaceful demonstration in Serta when a huge crowd of Tibetans had raised banners bearing slogans such as “independence of Tibet, long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” and shouted slogans calling for freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
Over 600 Chinese security forces indiscriminately opened fire on crowd of 200 protesters on January 23 and 24, killing at least two people and injuring several dozen more and ended with dozens of arrests. A Tibetan man named Popo, 35 and another man, Dawa Dakpa in his 30s have been shot and killed, The TPI has previously reported that the incident occurred when hundreds of Tibetans had raised banners bearing slogans such as “independence of Tibet, long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
The incident follows a series of protests in the area over the last few days. On 21 January, two monks from Shorog Monastery protested in the Town, calling “independence of Tibet”, Tibetans should not celebrate Chinese New Year and Tibetans should never be quiet until they have their freedom. TPI earlier report says the two monks and several others were detained; whose whereabouts remain unknown following their arrest since almost 5 years.
Hundreds of leaflets and posters were distributed that warned of more Tibetan self-immolations to protest against Chinese rule, if the Chinese authorities did not concern over Tibetan people’s voices. Source also stated that leaflets had appeared two days (January 23-24) in and around Serta town.
Arbitrary arrests and detention have increased amid unusual intensification of state surveillance measures in the region. Reports claim Beijing is isolating Tibet from the world and Tibetans face lengthy jail sentences and torture for sharing information about any protests, including their alleged involvement in the massive wave of self-immolation protests.
Hundreds of Tibetans, including writers, bloggers, singers and environmentalists, have been arbitrarily detained or are imprisoned since 2008, after attempting to express their views or share news of the situation in Tibet with the outside world, and provides further evidence of a widespread crackdown against free expression in Tibet.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese repressive rule have continued in Tibet since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with a verified total of 144 Tibetans have self-immolated in protests against Beijing’s rule since 2009, calling for “freedom in Tibet” and “return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”
Tibet was invaded by Communist China, starting in 1949, Beijing calls a “peaceful liberation”. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed— the acts of murder, rape and arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet. But, authorities in Beijing still claim that “China ‘peacefully liberated’ Tibet, and that the Tibetans are living in a “Maoist socialist paradise.“