Dead Monk

Tibet belongs to China, and the Chinese government tries to control their influence on Chinese people by choosing Tibet monk leaders (The Dalai Lama is super influential and is exiled from China).  The article that I have copied and pasted below from the NY Times tells of the death of a monk who believed in freeing Tibet.  The article alludes to the suspicious death of the monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, because (I assume someone from the NY Times, if not the author, contacted the cousin that kept being cited) the monk’s family said requested to have him serve his time at home due to a heart condition, but it never happened.

If you’re traveling to China and want to visit Tibet, there’s a great chance you won’t be able to visit it.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Tibetan Religious Leader, Dies in Chinese Custody

JULY 13, 2015

HONG KONG — One of the most prominent Tibetan religious leaders in Chinese custody has died, a family member and a Tibetan exile group said on Monday.

The religious leader, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, 65, died while serving a 20-year sentence on charges of “terrorism and inciting separatism” in Sichuan Province, his cousin Geshe Nyima said by telephone from Dharamsala, India. Students for a Free Tibet, a Tibetan exile group based in New York, also reported his death, citing family members and other people close to the monk.

Chinese officials informed Tenzin Delek’s two younger sisters of his death by telephone on Sunday, offering no further details, his cousin said. The sisters could not immediately be reached.

Tenzin Delek was arrested in April 2002 in connection with a series of bombings in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital. In December of that year, he was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve, meaning that the threat of execution would be lifted after two years, contingent upon good behavior. A co-defendant was executed in 2003.

Tenzin Delek denied the charges against him,Human Rights Watch said in 2004, citing a tape recording secretly smuggled out of prison. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and, in 2005, reduced to 20 years in prison.

The monk was a community leader among Tibetans in eastern Sichuan and had spoken out against deforestation, Tenzin Dolkar, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, wrote in an email. “Tenzin Delek’s activism on this range of issues made him a target of the Chinese authorities, who for 10 years attempted to limit his work and influence,” she wrote.

Tens of thousands of supporters in his home county of Litang in eastern Sichuan signed a petition demanding the monk’s release, she wrote.

Tenzin Delek’s family was last allowed to visit him in a prison in Chengdu in November 2013, his cousin said. Last year, the family requested that he be released on medical parole, citing a heart condition. The request went unanswered, his cousin said.

Last week, he said, local officials told relatives that they would finally be allowed to visit Tenzin Delek. Two sisters traveled to Chengdu to visit the monk, but their appointment was repeatedly postponed. On Sunday, they were informed that he had died, his cousin said.

Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister for the Tibetan government in exile,said on the government’s website that the Chinese authorities had disregarded numerous appeals for medical parole. “Such mistreatment will only generate more resentment among Tibetans,” he said.

The prominent Tibetan writer Woeser described Tenzin Delek in a blog post last year as a “moral and spiritual authority” for thousands of Tibetans. Referring to the repeated calls for his release from Tibetans in China, she wrote, “No support has ever been more persistent, more loyal and more desperate.”

Update 7/16/15

Didn’t think there was an update to a dead person, did you? Well there is and the family is really mad.  It’s from the NY Times.

BEIJING — Authorities in southwest China on Thursday cremated the body of a prominent Tibetan monk who died in prison last week, ignoring the pleas of relatives, religious leaders and thousands of supporters who had demanded that they be allowed to carry out funeral rites integral to Tibetan Buddhism.

Relatives of the monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, 65, said prison officials in Sichuan Province had brushed aside their requests and hastily cremated his body early Thursday, a move likely to exacerbate protests that have already turned violent in recent days.

“I think they were afraid people would see the body and know that it was not a natural death,” a cousin, Geshe Jamyang Nyima, said in a Skype interview.

Rights advocates have been calling for an investigation into the death of Tenzin Delek, a revered community leader who had been serving a life sentence on charges of terrorism and incitement of separatism. During his 13 years in prison, Tenzin Delek repeatedly maintained his innocence, saying accusations that he had orchestrated a series of bomb blasts in 2002 were fabricated by officials unhappy with his growing public stature.

Alarmed by accounts of his failing health, family members in recent years had been petitioning Beijing to grant Tenzin Delek medical parole, a campaign that drew support from Tibetan exile groups, Western governments and thousands of his followers in China. This week, the State Department and the European Union called on the Chinese government to release his body.

Prison officials in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, could not be reached for comment on Thursday but relatives say they have repeatedly declined to give a cause of death.

Family members say Tenzin Delek was in good health before his arrest, but that he had developed a heart ailment they attribute to the abuse they say he suffered while in custody.

“From their earliest efforts at harassing him, all the way through to their disposal of his body, Chinese authorities’ treatment of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has demonstrated utter contempt for their own laws and for religious traditions,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch. “To have allowed someone who had been tortured and denied medical care to die in detention is the height of cruelty.”

Tenzin Delek was one of China’s most high-profile political prisoners, and his death and hasty cremation are likely to aggravate tensions in a region already bristling with anti-government sentiment.

On Monday, the police were said to have fired tear gas and live ammunition into a crowd of more than a thousand people who had gathered outside government offices in Nyagchuka, a largely Tibetan town in Sichuan where Tenzin Delek had once lived. More than a dozen people were wounded, according to Students for a Free Tibet, an overseas advocacy group that reported the confrontation.

In recent days, nearly 100 people, including two of Tenzin Delek’s, have been staging a sit-in outside the prison in Chengdu where he is thought to have been held. Many had traveled nearly 400 miles from his hometown in Lithang, in western Sichuan, despite warnings from authorities that those caught traveling to Chengdu would face long prison terms.

Geshe Jamyang Nyima, the cousin, said prison officials had allowed Tenzin Delek’s sisters to view his body Thursday morning shortly before it was cremated at a secret prison outside Chengdu. “They found that his lips and his fingernails had turned black,” said the cousin, who lives in exile in India and is in frequent phone contact with one of the sisters. “To us, it is clear he has been murdered.”

Tenzin Delek was a revered figure among Tibetans in Sichuan, where he helped build medical clinics, schools and monasteries. He was also known as an environmentalist who opposed mining and deforestation.

But his promotion of Tibetan language and culture — and his devoted following among local residents — made Chinese officials uncomfortable, according to Padma Dolma, campaigns director for Students for a Free Tibet. “He wasn’t involved in political activities, which is why it was such a shock when he was arrested and charged with conspiring to plant a bomb,” she said. “It’s because of his message of nonviolence that Tibetans were so dedicated to him.”

Following his arrest — and a secret trial — Tenzin Delek’s notoriety spread beyond Sichuan. After international rights advocates campaigned for his release, his death sentence was commuted to life in prison, though a co-defendant was executed in 2003.

Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibet Studies Program at Columbia University, said the Chinese government had been quietly granting medical parole to ill Tibetan prisoners, including 17 over the past two years. But given Tenzin Delek’s popularity, he said, the authorities may have feared public celebrations over his release.

“Like so much of China’s Tibet policies, they were trapped in a cul-de-sac with no exit,” he said. “Still, that he was allowed to die in prison is really quite extraordinary. It’s something that is going to be very strongly felt in Tibetan communities.”

Update 7/18/15

Yes, another update for this dead monk.  He’s so special there continues to be coverage.  I’m not poking fun.  I think that since the monk is deceased, there should be peaceful protests and other things that has to do with peace and goodness, but according to the following article, there was a protest where over 20 were injured, and the title of this article tells you that the monk’s relatives have been detained.  I know anger and frustration is in the air because of the way Renzin Delek Rinpoche passed and the government hasn’t released a (more or less bogus) cause of death yet, so let’s let some time pass, then do some digging, and expose the real story of his departure.  Just my opinion.  Feel free to visit the article’s source; it’s the NY Times again.

Also, if you ever wondered about the power and force of the Chinese government, this article would give you a sense of it if you oppose it.

BEIJING — The authorities in southwest China have reportedly detained two relatives of a prominent Tibetan monk whose unexplained death in prison, reported to his family last Sunday, set off demonstrations that left over 20 people injured.

According to Students for a Free Tibet, an overseas advocacy group, the police on Friday detained a sister and a niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, 65, a widely revered monk and community leader who was serving a life sentence on terrorism and separatism charges. Human rights advocates contend that the allegations against Tenzin Delek were politically motivated.

He died in a prison near Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, under circumstances that officials have yet to explain.

On Thursday, prison administrators, brushing aside the pleas of family members and supporters, cremated his body rather than allow them to carry out traditional Buddhist funeral rites.

Witnesses say Dolkar Lhamo, 52, and her daughter, Nyima Lhamo, 25, were taken away from a restaurant in Chengdu early Friday by police officers from their hometown, Lithang, a Tibetan community nearly 400 miles away, according to Padma Dolma, campaigns director for Students for a Free Tibet.

“We’re very worried for the safety because we all know how authorities deal with Tibetans in detention,” she said in a phone interview from New York.

Lithang police officials reached by phone on Saturday declined to confirm whether the two women had been arrested.

Dolkar Lhamo had been at the center of a highly public campaign seeking the return of her brother’s body. Last week she and another sister were among nearly 100 Tibetans who staged a sit-in outside the building in Chengdu where Tenzin Delek was thought to have been imprisoned for the 13 years before he died.

She later presented prison officials with a petition demanding an investigation into his death, a document that Tibetan exile groups obtained and posted on the Internet.

Chinese authorities, anxious about potential ethnic unrest, have imposed draconian security measures in Tibetan areas; disappearances, abusive interrogations and secret trials that lead to long prison terms are common.

On Monday, at least 23 people were hospitalized after riot police officers sought to break up a demonstration in Nyagchuka, a county in western Sichuan where more than a thousand people had gathered to demand an investigation into Tenzin Delek’s death, according to Tibetan exile groups.

The authorities have imposed an information blackout across the region, a detail confirmed on Saturday by a man who answered the phone at the Public Security Bureau in Lithang. “The Internet has been shut down for half a month here. It is a control measure,” the man said before hanging up.

Tenzin Delek was widely respected for his social welfare work and his efforts to fight illegal mining and deforestation in western Sichuan. In 2002, he was arrested and charged with planning a series of bomb blasts; he was sentenced to death during a secret trial but later given a reprieve. Critics, citing a lack of evidence, say the authorities were simply trying to eliminate a nettlesome community leader.

Tenzin Delek’s plight had become a cause célèbre among Tibetans and international rights advocates who in recent years had been petitioning Beijing for his early release, citing reports that he was suffering from a heart ailment.

The Chinese news media has ignored the news of Tenzin Delek’s death and the subsequent protests, though Global Times, a state-owned newspaper known for its nationalist sentiment, ran an editorial Thursday rejecting Western news reports that questioned whether he had been provided adequate medical care.

“It is common around the world for a long-term prisoner to die of illness in jail,” the newspaper said.

Update 7/21/15

Chinese Police Are Said to Seize Ashes of Tibetan Monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche


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I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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