Longest-Held Tibetan Nun Says She Was Warned Against Discussing Her Ordeal [Radio Free Asia]
18, Mar 2006 06:13
“I am so excited to meet Ngawang Sangdrol here at the airport,” she said. Phuntsog Nyidron said Chinese officials who escorted her from Lhasa to Beijing treated her well.
Phuntsog Nyidron has lived with her family in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) capital, Lhasa, since she was freed from Lhasa’s notorious Drapchi Prison on Feb. 26, 2004.
She was jailed in October 1989 on charges of “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement” and handed an eight-year jail term.
In September 1993, she was convicted with 13 other prisoners of the same charge and handed an additional nine-year sentence. After accruing time off for good behavior, she had her sentenced commuted in 2004.
Former cellmate described prison abuse
“It was a struggle to get her here, but they made a commitment to me two years ago to let her come over to the United States,” John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation in San Francisco, told RFA.
Phuntsog Nyidron is believed to have spent more time in Chinese jails for peacefully protesting Chinese rule in Tibet than any other female political prisoner.
Ngawang Sangdrol, her former cellmate, told RFA on arriving in the United States in 2003 that she had been beaten and tortured in prison. In one instance, she said, prison guards fired on prisoners who shouted slogans in favor of Tibetan independence during a flag-raising ceremony. “I don’t know if anyone was killed or injured, but I could clearly hear prisoners shouting, ‘They are killing us!'" she said.
Ngawang Sangdrol also described intense official surveillance following her early release from prison in 2002—nine years before her sentence was scheduled to end.
“After I was given medical parole from prison, there were still guards watching me all the time, even at home.” She said guards beat her on many occasions, once smashing mugs and pipes on her head until it bled. She also said she had agreed not to engage in “anti-Chinese” activities overseas.
“The authorities never officially told me I was leaving for America, not until the last minute before I boarded the airplane,” Ngawang Sangdrol said at the time. “Before leaving, I was told to sign a statement saying that I wouldn’t say or do anything anti-China. I signed the statement.”