23 October 2016
Tenzin Delek was a supporter of the Dalai Lama. Photo:
Tenzin Delek was a supporter of the Dalai Lama. Photo:

High-profile Tibetan monk dies in China prison

A Tibetan monk who was one of China’s most prominent political prisoners has died in prison, a relative and human rights activists said Monday.

The United States, European Union and international rights groups had called for the release of the monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, 65, who died Sunday in Chuandong prison in Chengdu, Sichuan province, his cousin, Geshe Nyima, told Reuters by telephone from India.

Tenzin Delek was serving a 20-year sentence on charges of “crimes of terror and incitement of separatism”.

The cause of death was not clear, Geshe Nyima said.

He said authorities had notified the monk’s sisters Sunday but did not elaborate on the circumstances of his death.

“Rinpoche is not an ordinary person — he is one of the most respected leaders,” said Dorjee Tseten, Asia director of Students for a Free Tibet, a rights group that had campaigned for the monk’s release.

Supporters said Tenzin Delek had been in poor health in hospital and had called for his release on medical grounds.

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