Tibetan Monk Receives a 'Hero's Welcome' After Release From Jail

Gangbu Yubum is honored at Koetsa village in Kardze's Serthar county, June 12, 2014.
Well-wishers greet Gangbu Yubum on his release from prison, June 12, 2014. Credit: RFA listener
A Tibetan monk jailed for five years for opposing Chinese rule in Tibetan areas has been released from his second prison sentence, receiving a hero’s welcome Friday at his home village in western China’s Sichuan province though the reception was cut back on orders from the authorities, sources said.

Gangbu Yubum, who had served two separate but consecutive terms for his role in area protests and other activities challenging Beijing’s rule, was released on Thursday, a Tibetan living in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing local sources.

“[Yubum] was released on June 12 from Minyak prison,” said Golog Jigme Gyatso, a monk who himself escaped last month from Tibet into India after being beaten and tortured by his Chinese jailers during long periods of detention.

“He returned to his hometown to a warm welcome by residents of Koetsa village in Serthar,” (in Chinese, Seda) county in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gyatso said.

“Special tents were pitched with colorful prayer flags flying around them to greet him, and he was brought in with a convoy of vehicles with fliers on their windshields saying, ‘Welcome, Gangbu, on your return!’”

'Fighter for truth'

“Tibetans offered ceremonial scarves and hailed him as a ‘fighter for the cause of truth,’” Gyatso said, adding that though area residents had originally planned a larger reception at the Serthar county center, “the plan was blocked by Chinese authorities.”

Yubum was first detained in 2008 for his role in a  demonstration in Serthar at a time when protests challenging Beijing’s rule were sweeping Tibetan areas of China, Gyatso said.

“During the protest, he raised the Tibetan flag, called for the return to Tibet of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama, and expressed his opposition to Chinese policies in Tibet.”

Handed a three-year term, Yubum was released on Feb. 19, 2011, but was detained again in May 2012 for helping to establish an “Association for Resisting the [Communist] Onslaught,” Gyatso said.

“He was then jailed for another two years,” he said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 131 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.

Reported by Lumbum Tashi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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