Dharamshala — Rinchen Tsultrim, a Tibetan monk sentenced to four and a half years in prison for allegedly communicating with people outside Tibet, was recently released, but his every move is still closely monitored by the Chinese authorities, so details such as his state of health and his life in prison remain unknown. The Chinese authorities treat former political prisoners very harshly, and even if they are released, they have to report to the local police station every fortnight.
According to a reliable source, Rinchen Tsultrim was released on January 31, 2024, after serving a sentence of four and six months in Mianyuan prison. He returned to his home in Kashul, Ngaba county, eastern Tibet, at 5pm local time on February 1, 2024. But his every move is still closely monitored by the Chinese authorities, so details such as his state of health and his life in prison remain unknown.
Rinchen Tsultrim was arrested on the night of August 1, 2019 and tried by the Ngaba County Court in March 2021. On March 23 of the same year, he was sentenced by the same court to four years and six months' imprisonment until January 31, 2024 for "inciting secession of the State". He served his sentence in Mianyang prison,Chengdu City, Sichuan province, China.
According to the TPI’s previous report, on March 23, 2020, Rinchen’s families received a notice from Chinese authorities. The notice states that his actions are 'sabotaging media and endangering public safety' under 124 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China. Rinchen Tsultrim was arrested on the night of August 1, 2019, along with two other monks. On March 26, 2021, Ngaba County Police called Rinchen's parents and told them that Rinchen Tsultrim was sentenced to four and half years jail term, he is in a prison near Chengdu City.
The two companions were released to go back to the monastery after a while. Rinchen Tsultrim was confined continuously in connection to his discussions and writing on Tibet issues with Tibetans abroad. He was imprisoned in Ngaba, Bakham since then and nothing else related to him is heard and known to his family and relatives. His arrest was believed to be related to his activities in 2018.
He was arrested twice with his younger brother Norbu Tsering in 2018, for discussing Tibet-related issues with someone from outside Tibet. The Chinese police came to know of this when they seized his cell phone and censored it. He was detained and banned from using WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app.
In 2019, on His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama’s birthday, he talked with a Tibetan living abroad for more than two hours which was voice tapped by Chinese authorities. He was also accused of importing rare and important scripts from outside Tibet and spreading them across many regions inside Tibet through post offices.
He has also been blamed for writing many Tibet-related topics on his personal blog, ‘Chetawa’ which has also been closed later. Earlier, he posted on social media, WeChat photos of his younger sister Kunsang Dolma studying in India attending educational conferences. The Chinese authorities implicated him by relating the act to be a political activity. Since then, he was under tight surveillance of local Chinese authorities and his every move was being restricted.