Tibet Sun Online News
ON THE WEB, 19 February 2021
Tibetans in McLeod Ganj held a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of a Tibetan while serving a long prison sentence.
Kunchok Jinpa, 51, a tour guide from Driru in eastern Tibet, was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for a peaceful protest against a Chinese forced flag-raising campaign.
He died on 6 February in a hospital in Lhasa from brain hemorrhage, apparently after being beaten in custody.
According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Kunchok Jinpa was detained by the Chinese authorities on 8 November 2013 without informing his family. He was among hundreds of Tibetans in Driru township in Nagchu district taking part in a series of peaceful protests in October 2013 against the official demand to raise Communist China’s flag from every house.
Kunchok was also charged with leaking state secrets for sharing information to foreign media about protests in his area. He was given a 21-year sentence without any information about his trial or conviction being publicly available.
In November 2020, the authorities moved him from prison at Nyetang (Ch: Nidan) to a hospital in Lhasa, in serious condition needing emergency treatment. His family members learned of his situation on 29 January, and a few of them tried to give blood for his treatment, but they were unable to see him.
Citing people from his area who are now in exile, HRW reported that in his final communication on his WeChat micro-blogging account in April 2013, he wrote: “I am now at the bank of a river. There are many people behind me watching me, and I am sure to be arrested. Even if they arrest me, I am not afraid, even if they kill me, I have no regrets. But from now on, I will not be able to give reports. If there is no word from me, that means I have been arrested.”