Tibetan Monk Tortured for 3 Decades in China’s Prisons Dies

Treated like a plow animal, kicked, beaten and tortured with leather belts, electric cattle prods, iron bars, self-tightening handcuffs and thumb screws, Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan monk, survived more than three decades in Chinese prisons. 

He fled to India in 1992, smuggling out some of the devices used to torture him. He quickly became one of the most high-profile critics of Chinese human rights abuses, speaking to audiences around the world about China’s policies in Tibet. 

He died Friday morning in Delek Hospital in Dharamsala, India, home to the Tibetan government in exile. He was 85 and had been diagnosed with liver cancer several months ago. 

At his death, Palden Gyatso was surrounded by monks from the Kirti Monastery, where he had been tended, monastery spokesman Losang Yeshe told the Tibetan Sun. 

 

Palden Gyatso was born in Panam in central Tibet and became a monk when he was 10 years old at Gadong Monastery. He became fully ordained at 18, just when China invaded Tibet in 1950, 37 years after it asserted independence. 

 

In 1959, when China crushed the Tibetan uprising against its occupation and the government with the Dalai Lama fled into exile, Palden Gyatso was arrested along with thousands of other monks, accused of being a reactionary and sentenced to a seven-year prison term.  

Palden Gyatso escaped from prison three years later but was caught at the Indian border and imprisoned again with leg shackles that were not removed for more than two years. He completed his prison term in 1975 but was sent to a labor camp for prisoners. He escaped again in 1979 but was soon caught putting up anti-Chinese posters and sentenced to another nine years in prison. 

On Aug. 25, 1992, he finished his prison term; 13 days later, he escaped from Tibet to India, where he found asylum. 

After undergoing rehabilitation in Dharmsala, Palden Gyatso traveled extensively and testified before many government bodies, numerous human rights organizations, universities and news organizations. 

In speaking about his prison experiences, Palden often described how he lost all his teeth because guards rammed electric prods into his mouth. In a kind of show-and-tell presentation, he often brought along torture equipment similar to items used on him. 

In 1995, Palden Gyatso testified before a U.S. House subcommittee on human rights. 

“We prisoners were yoked to plows like animals to till prison land. When we got exhausted, we were kicked and whipped from behind,” he said, according to a New York Times report on his testimony. “Since we were never given enough to eat, we were forced to steal food meant for the pigs from the Chinese pigsties. We were also driven to chewing and eating all kinds of used leather items, bones of different kinds of dead animals, mice, worms, grasses.”  

As a political prisoner, he endured torture refined to the season. Winter meant being suspended above the ground and doused with icy water. Summer meant fires burned on the ground below. Year-round, suspended by self-tightening handcuffs and thumb screws, the prisoners endured beatings with leather belts, electric cattle prods or iron bars. 

His book, The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk, was published in 1997. 

 

In 2008, Japanese filmmaker Makoto Sasa made a documentary, Fire Under the Snow, about Palden Gyatso, after reading his autobiography. 

“Seeing him smile tenderly with hands joined in prayer, I struggled to reconcile this warm presence with the bitter life recounted in the book,” she says on the film’s website. “I tried to imagine how a return to relative normalcy was even possible after spending more than half his life under nightmare conditions. How could he still smile with such compassion?” 

 

Although “humble” about his own experiences, his “reminiscences about friends starved or tortured to death, driven to suicide or still in prison, caused him to break down into heart-rending sobs: this is a legacy of pain beyond pain,” Sasa added. 

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Don’t Be Deterred By Metele Attack, Women Group Tells Soldiers

The Women Arise for Change and Good Governance (WACN) has advised the Nigerian military not to be deterred by the recent attack by the Boko Haram on soldiers of the 157 military battalion in Metele, Borno State.

The women gave the advice during their solidarity rally held in Abuja.

They said the war against insurgency in the northeast should be tackled headlong, and paid glowing tributes to soldiers who lost their lives in the attack, which they described as unfortunate and monumental tragedy to the country.

Jaiyetola Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the group, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to remain steadfast and resolute in his convictions, as Nigerians re strongly behind him.

“We shall remain forever pained at this monumental tragedy. As you reflect over the sorrow visited upon our nation by these irreligious and satanic creatures, incensed by the swords of the devil, we stand firmly behind you,” they said.  

“The Nigerian women you are seeing now have decided to stand with you in this tormenting moment of the nation. We have prayed and invoked the spirit of Almighty God to put an end to the scourge of Boko Haram terrorism.  We are unanimously chorusing NO to the evil forces within which have besieged our land.  

“Nigerian women have passed an irrevocable vote of confidence on your leadership and the exceptional performances of troops in the battlefield against Boko Haram.  This is a battle they must win and they have already won it several times. Therefore, no amount of distractions should deter us from finally conquering the enemy after our country.  

“Once again, Nigerian women are pleading with you Mr. President not to let us and the nation down by either succumbing to the antics of enemies or be distracted by the effects of   the recent attacks on Metele.  It is one community Boko Haram terrorists have been fruitlessly attempting to recapture, month after month. 

“Boko Haram have made several attempts to capture Metele which are usually repelled by Nigerian troops. Mr. President must remain focused on rescuing the country from the claws of evil men.”

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National Assembly Staff Set For Five-Day Protest Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has concluded arrangements to ground activities at the National Assembly between December 4 and 8, 2018.

According to the association, the protest is a result of the failure of the management to address issues bordering on salary arrears and promotions.

This was disclosed at the end of the emergency congress of the association held on Thursday in Abuja.

The association resolved that picketing of the National Assembly will commence between 8am and 2pm daily, to press home their demands and get feedback on the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS).

A communiqué signed by the Secretary General of the association, Suleiman Haruna, noted that PASAN has issued a two-week ultimatum to NASS to fulfill its demands, or else, they would embark on the strike.

“The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives should take urgent steps to nominate the would-be members of NASS Service Commission for appointment. That all pending staff promotions and conversion letters be released with arrears due fully paid on or before December 31st, among other requests,” the communiqué read.

Bature Musa, Chairman of the Association, also confirmed the decision of the congress, noting that the picketing would go on as planned, unless the management addresses their demands.

In October, more than 50 legislative aides had welcomed the lawmakers back from their annual recess with a protest at the chambers’ lobby, Bearing placards with various inscriptions, they claimed they had not been paid salaries, Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) and other entitlements.

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PDP Wants To Use IPOB To Disrupt 2019 Elections, Group Alleges


A group, Patriotic Front of Nigeria (PFN), has accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Boko Haram commanders of plans to disrupt the 2019 general election.

Rabiu Usman, National Coordinator of the group, also alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was working with both the IPOB and the Boko Haram insurgents to create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in order to discourage people from exercising their franchise.

He said it is no coincidence that the opposition PDP is always ready with a quick response within minutes of Boko Haram attacks in the country, mostly now that election i around the corner. 

According to Usman, only those who have pre-arranged deals with the terrorists to carry out attacks could respond with such speed, while reactions from the party point towards a group gloating over the killing of Nigerians as opposed to one that identifies with bereaved families.

“It is glaring that what the PDP is doing is nothing but shedding crocodile tears because whatever is happening today in terms of terrorism has the foundation laid in the 16 years that the one-time  ruling party was in power,” Usman said in a statement.

“It is convenient to shift the blame to a party that has been in office for a little over three years but the reality is that PDP owns the responsibility for what is happening in Nigeria.”

Usman further accused the PDP of activating the IPOB to frustrate the 2019 elections stressing that the separatist group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts were previously unknown for over a year, suddenly resurfaced the moment, Peter Obi was announced as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate.

“The original plot was for Nnamdi Kanu to openly drum support for the PDP candidate but this was plan was suspended and ultimately reversed when it became apparent that a growing section of the population felt insulted by Kanu’s betrayal when he was reported to have been killed by security forces only for them to discover that he went into hiding while leaving them with a worthless cause.

“Kanu’s continued insistence that there will be no election if there was no referendum to decide the fate of the defunct Biafra was part of a larger scheme to make people believe he is still the separatist leader they used to know. 

“In fact there was the alternate rendering of the event, which has it that Kanu was working for President Buhari and that was like bonus for the PDP since it was able to shift attention away from itself by having people accuse Kanu of working for Buhari.”

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Have You Paid Bail Money To The Police In 2018? It’s Illegal — And Your Refund is Ready

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has said Nigerians who paid to secure bail should contact the Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) for a refund.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Abayomi Shogunle, who also heads the PCRRU, stated this during an interview on Armed Forces Radio 107.7 FM.

According to Shogunle, the Police has returned N7.5million bail money to Nigerians in 2018.

His words: “As we always say, bail is free. You’re not expected to pay any [policeman] when you’re taking somebody on bail. But you know, just as we have almost everywhere, we have some bad eggs in the Police that have been misusing their official capacity; we’ve had reports to PCRRU.

“In the course of the first two years of PCRRU — between November 2015 and November 2017 — we were able to recover N11.1million bribe money, which includes bail money that has been collected from members of the public based on reports to us and the money was returned to the various owners.

“10 Police officers that were involved in this were dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force. And as at this year January 2018 till date, we have also been able to return N7.5million collected from members of the public and Police officers have also been sanctioned. Bail is free no matter the offence. If the Police insists on taking money, call the PCRRU; we’re available 24/7.”

He also noted that details of complainants remain confidential.

BAIL IS FREE. @PoliceNG_PCRRU has recovered & returned ₦7.5m bail money to some Nigerians this 2018. Have you paid bail money to police? Call 08057000001-2 or WhatsApp/SMS 08057000003 to get a refund. Nos. also for distress call 24/7.

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