Tibetan chooses suicide over Chinese prison It has been revealed today that Gonpo Rigzin, a 25-year-old Tibetan man, has stabbed himself to death rather than face the torturous and harrowing realities of the Chinese prison system. The 25-year-old stabbed himself repeatedly in the upper body at his family home in Sheda Township, Drango County.
Previous Tibetan protest
Before committing suicide, Gonpo said: “it is better to kill myself than be arrested by the Chinese”, putting into perspective the horrific experience in Chinese prisons. Gonpo had previously been involved in a protest in the town of Drango on 23 January. Unconfirmed reports allege that he was involved, along with others, in damaging a police vehicle during the protest in which Chinese forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators.
Villagers in Sheda Township have been repeatedly summoned by local government officials to attend and be subjected to 'patriotic-re-education' programmes. In this compulsory programme, Tibetan Buddhists are forced to denounce their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who they hold as sacred, and to swear allegiance to the State and the Communist Party. These programmes have become a routine occurrence after the Drango protests. Gonpo's family were told by police that attendance at the patriotic-re-education classes were compulsory.
Chinese police harrassment
Following Gonpo's family's harassment by the police and fearing he would be detained upon arrival, Gonpo ignored several orders to attend the classes. On 29 March, after hearing the Paramilitary Security Bureau were on their way to his house, he made the comment, “It is better to kill myself than be arrested by the Chinese” and stabbed himself to death in his home.
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