Former political prisoner dies after prolonged medical treatment

Shonu Palden
2nd October 2018

Another victim of Chinese prison violence dead as a result of mistreatment and torture 

We have obtained news from our research partner Tibet Watch, that ex-political prisoner Shonu Palden has died on 30 September after a prolonged treatment for torture-related injuries which he suffered during his detention in Machu County Kanlho, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

He was 41 years old when he passed away and is survived by his wife Tsering Dekyi (28) and three children: son Tenzin Kunkyab (8), and daughters Namgyal Dolma (10) and Tashi Dolma (5).

Shonu Palden was first arrested on 18 June 2012 in his hometown of Rongkor Village on the charge of spurring protests during the 2008 Tibetan uprising. He was then kept in detention for several months, during which he was interrogated and severely tortured, and denied legal representation or contact with his family.

He was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, where he suffered from harsh beatings, torture and medical negligence. His condition became critical and as such he was released a year ahead of his actual sentence (24 July 2013), a common practice of the Chinese government to avoid responsibility over misconduct and death in custody.

Shonu Palden in hospital

After his release, Shonu Palden developed serious health complications, including breathing problems, weak eyesight and blocked arteries. He underwent two major surgeries, but saw  no significant improvements to his health. The prolonged duration of his torture-related injuries put increasing pressure on his family, struggling to meet the rising costs of his treatment.

Moreover, Palden’s family have been subjected to continuous intimidation and harassment by the local authorities for allegedly spreading the information about his mistreatment in prison.

Last year we reported on the incident of Namgyal Dolma (Palden’s elder daughter), being denied school admission due to her father’s political activities. This is a typical example of collective punishment from local authorities - denying his daughter access to education as a form of intimidation and retribution – and is intended to discourage future dissent or related political activities.

Shonu Palden’s case is not unique as hundreds of Tibet’s political prisoners are disappeared, tortured and killed under the brutality of the Chinese occupation.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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Across Tibet, numerous political prisoners remain in Chinese jails. Some of them are held in secret locations, with the Chinese authorities refusing to reveal any information about their location or current health condition and preventing them from contacting their relatives.

Help Free Tibet pressure Chinese officials to reveal their location, and push for their release.