Lodoe Gyatso disappeared in mysterious circumstances in Lhasa last week
UPDATE 9 February 2018: A video recorded by Lodoe Gyatso on 28 January, before his protest, has since emerged. This video is below with a transcript in English
A Tibetan man who has been repeatedly detained in recent years is once again in detention after disappearing from Lhasa last week.
Free Tibet reported Lodoe Gyatso's sudden disappearance in the Tibetan capital last week. Information available at the time suggested that he was planning to stage a protest in Lhasa against the Chinese military occupation of Tibet.
Local sources have since confirmed that Lodoe Gyatso did indeed carry out a solo protest in front of the Potala Palace, the historic residence of the Dalai Lama, before being arrested by the Chinese police. His current location has been traced to a prison in Sog County, Nagchu Prefecture.
Hidden from the world
Such information is rare in Tibet given both the authorities’ high level of censorship and limited access to foreign non-governmental organisations or media. Places such as Lhasa and Sog County are subject to particularly tight restrictions since they fall within the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Within this closed environment, numerous political prisoners have gone missing without their friends and family knowing their whereabouts let alone the outside world. Often these political prisoners are detained without trial and can be subjected to degrading treatment and torture.
Lodoe Gyatso has already been imprisoned and detained on several occasions. He spent two decades in the notorious Drapchi Prison between 1993 and 2013 after being convicted of killing another man in a fight. During his time in Drapchi Prison he distributed 300 hand-written letters opposing the Chinese occupation and shouted pro-Tibet slogans. At one point he was sentenced to death, although this was later commuted to additional time in prison. The torture he experienced while in Drapchi Prison resulted in extremely poor health.
Since his release, Lodoe was under restricted surveillance and he was prohibited from either staying in Lhasa or visiting the city during any public gatherings or official events.
Despite these restrictions, Lodoe Gyatso continued his activism outside prison, stating that he wished for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and for the country to be turned into a zone for world peace. Between 2015 and 2016 he was repeatedly arrested and detained by Chinese authorities.
*The Buddha describes the Noble Eightfold Path as the middle way of moderation, between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch
In Tibet the Chinese Communist Party oversees what some have called the world's largest open air prison. The authorities have the power to switch the light on and off, peering into Tibetans' emails one moment and making political prisoners vanish from their families and friends, apparently into darkness, the next. Help us push for Tibet's hidden political prisoners to be found and released.