Ti­betan lama dies in Chi­nese prison

Ten­zin Delek Rin­poche was 65

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

Ti­betan lama Ten­zin Delek Rin­poche has died in prison 13 years into serv­ing a sen­tence for what hu­man rights groups say were false charges that he was in­volved in a bomb­ing in a public park. He was 65.

Rel­a­tives were in­formed of the death Sun­day, New York-based Stu­dents for a Free Ti­bet said Mon­day. Po­lice in Sichuan province in south­west­ern China con­firmed the death but de­clined to give fur­ther de­tails.

Ten­zin Delek was ar­rested in 2002 in re­la­tion to an April 3, 2002, blast in Chengdu city that in­jured three peo­ple. He was sen­tenced to death on charges of terror and in­cite­ment of sep­a­ratism a few months later. His death sen­tence was com­muted to life in prison in 2005, and later to 20 years' im­pris­on­ment. He con­tin­ued to main­tain his in­no­cence.

He was be­ing held in a prison in Dazhu county in Sichuan province, which borders the Ti­betan re­gion. A woman from the Public Se­cu­rity Bureau in Dazhu con­firmed that Ten­zin Delek died Sun­day. She re­fused to iden­tify her­self.

Stu­dents for a Free Ti­bet said his fam­ily mem­bers had been in­formed by po­lice in Chengdu city, the cap­i­tal of Sichuan province, on Sun­day, but were not told how he died.

Last year, they had ap­plied for med­i­cal pa­role for him on the grounds that he suf­fered from a heart con­di­tion, high blood pres­sure, dizzy spells and prob­lems with his legs that had caused him to fall on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions.

Born in 1950 in a Ti­betan area of Sichuan, Ten­zin Delek stayed in In­dia from 1982 to 1987 to study un­der the Dalai Lama.

Dur­ing that time, the Dalai Lama rec­og­nized Ten­zin Delek as a tulku, or a rein­car­nated lama.

In 1987 he re­turned to China, where he worked to es­tab­lish monas­ter­ies, health clin­ics, small schools and or­phan­ages, ris­ing in promi­nence.

Hu­man rights groups have said his re­la­tion­ship with Chi­nese of­fi­cials took a turn for the worse when he rolled back at­tempts to clear forests and be­cause of his sup­port for the Dalai Lama, who is con­sid­ered a sep­a­ratist by the gov­ern­ment.

AP FILE PHOTO

This photo taken June 1999 and re­leased by Tser­ing Woeser on July 13, 2015, shows Ti­betan lama Ten­zin Delek Rin­poche in his home in Nyagqu County in south­west­ern China's Sichuan province.

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