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China: Human rights organization calls for investigation in death of Tibetan tour guide who died in prison

Voice of America’s China bureau reports that International human rights groups have asked the Chinese government to explain how a Tibetan tour guide died in prison. The guide was sent to prison on charges for providing news to overseas media.

The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that on the February 6, 2021 Kunchok Jinpa, (a 51-year-old Tibetan tour guide) died in a hospital in Lhasa, Tibet.

Kunchok Jinpa, was detained by the Chinese authorities on November 8, 2013, and was subsequently sentenced to 21 years in prison for “leaking state secrets” because he was providing information about local protests to overseas media.

Human Rights Watch cited information provided by a local person familiar with the matter as saying that the guide is believed to have suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in the prison while serving a sentence in Nyetang township (Nyetang) near Lhasa.

HRW also stated the guide was paralyzed in November 2020. After informing his family, he was taken from prison to a hospital in Lhasa. His family learned that the 51 year old had received first aid on January 29, so they rushed to the hospital to donate blood, but did not see him.

HRW said Kunchok Jinpa, a resident of Driru, Nagqu, was detained in October 2013 for peacefully protesting against the official regulations requiring every household to fly the Chinese flag. He is believed to have provided information about local protests against the authorities’ plans to open a sacred mountain in May 2013 through social media or directly to a Tibetan media outside of China.

Sophie Richardson, Director of the China Department of Human Rights Watch, said that the death of Kunchok Jinpa is another severe case of mistreatment of a Tibetan who was wrongfully imprisoned.

“Chinese authorities responsible for arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment, and the death of people in their custody should be held accountable.” said the Director of the China Department of Human Rights Watch.

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