Biography of Takna Jigme Sangpo released

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during the launch of Takna Jigme Sangpo's (left) biography in McLeod Ganj, India, on 24 January 2014.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during the launch of Takna Jigme Sangpo's (left) biography in McLeod Ganj, India, on 24 January 2014. Gu Chu Sum/Handout

Tibet Sun newsroom

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 24 January 2014

The biography of Tibet’s longest-incarcerated political prisoner, Takna Jigme Sangpo, was launched by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay on Friday.

Published by Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet, an ex-political prisoner’s organisation, the book: Experiences of my Life [མི་ཚེའི་མྱོང་ཚོར།] documents Takna Jigme Sangpo’s life history in interview format.

Launching the book, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said that Takna was an inspiration for him.

Others who attended the launch ceremony were Drongchung Ngodup Tsering, the Minister of Department of Security of the Central Tibetan Administration; member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Jamyang Soepa; and leaders of different non-governmental organisations.

Takna Jigme Sangpo, 86, was first arrested on 15 August 1965 because, as a schoolteacher, he had “corrupted the minds of children with reactionary ideas.”

Due to his “political activities” while in prison he received extended prison terms for ten years in 1970, a 15-year sentence in 1983, and an additional five years in 1988.

On 6 December 1991 he shouted “Free Tibet” during a visit to Drapchi prison by the Swiss ambassador to China. He got another eight years from that incident.

He was reportedly beaten, held in solitary confinement, and put through arduous “reform through labour” camps.

Having spent 37 years in a prison near Lhasa, Takna is enlisted as the longest-serving political prisoner of Tibet and South-East Asia, in addition to the title of third-longest-serving political prisoner of the world.

Due to numerous international campaigns and support for his freedom he was released on medical parole on 31 March 2002.

In July of the same year he was allowed to travel to Washington, and in August he went to Switzerland where he was given political asylum. He continues to live there.

The book was written by Lachap Jimpa, a former political prisoner and a member of Gu Chu Sum. It is the twenty-first in a series of books about former political prisoners of Tibet, all published by the organisation.

Explaining about the publications, General Secretary of the organisation Kungam said, “We have three clear aims in our mind: Firstly, to highlight the real condition of Tibet through the testimonies of the people who have experienced it, Secondly, to expose the disparity between what is legal and how it is abused by the Chinese Communist regime, and, thirdly and most importantly, to provide inspiration, a sense of subjective belongingness and a legacy for the Tibetan youngsters.”

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