China 18 member, well-known Tibetan monk dies in Chinese prison

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
(Photo: Wikipedia)
China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(Chengdu—July 13, 2015) China Aid is deeply saddened by news of China 18 member Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death on Sunday in a prison in China’s southwestern Sichuan province.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been serving a life sentence since 2002 for “suspicion of inciting separatism” and “illegal possession of firearms” after being accused of organizing the bombing of a public square in Chengdu. He was originally sentenced to death with a two-year stay of execution, but the sentence was commuted in 2005.

During his 13 years in prison, the Tibetan monk’s health rapidly deteriorated, which led to advocacy for medical parole on his behalf by China Aid and numerous other human rights allies, including Congressman Jim McGovern, (D-Mass.).

In May, China Aid vice president Kody Kness joined the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) to accompany Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s student and friend Geshe Tempa to meet with Congressional offices. In these meetings, Kness, ICT representatives and Geshe Tempa expressed their fear that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche could possibly die in prison from multiple health issues unless the Chinese government allowed him medical parole to receive necessary medical attention.

ICT Chairman of the Board Richard Gere is expected to include remarks concerning Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s passing in his testimony to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission during a hearing tomorrow titled “Tibet & China: Searching for a New Way Forward.” The hearing can be viewed live at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

ICT President Matteo Mecacci expressed thoughts on the passing of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and a subsequent call to action: “We call on governments and the international community to make public statements expressing their concern about the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, to urge the Chinese authorities to return the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche to his family and monastic community — and to act with restraint towards Tibetans seeking to express their grief — and to request an investigation about the circumstances that led to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death and whether medical treatment was provided to him.”

For more information on advocacy recommendations, please see ICT’s report on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s passing.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985