There was mass jubilation among Tibetans in Dharamshala and other locations where they are settled following reports that the Chinese government has released o ne of the longest serving Tibetan political prisoners, Ngawang Phulchung, who was one of the key leaders of the famous peaceful pro-independence demonstration of 27 September 1987, in Lhasa. He was in prison in Chushul since then.
Tibetan are of the view that the way Ngawang has been released from jail, the time has come when all others in various prisons of China are also be released and an atmosphere of goodwill and gesture is created with the Tibetans , especially the Dalai Lama.
According to information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Ngawang Phulchung, a 48 year-old prominent member of the Drepung “Group of Ten” was released after completion of his eight years and six months of prison sentence in various Chinese administered detention centers and prisons in Tibet.
Ngawang was released by the Chinese authorities around 21 October 2007 from Chushul Prison. He was incarcerated for 18 years and six months of his 19-year sentence before receiving a six-month sentence reduction on 22 September 2005. The current physical condition of Ngawang Phulchung is said to be frail and have deteriorated over the years due to torture and inhuman treatments he suffered in the prison. He is stated to be at his home with his family in Toelung Dechen County .
“Ngawang Phulchung is an exceptional case in the Tibetan struggle for human rights and justice. His dauntless efforts in voicing his opinion against the Chinese government’s oppressive regime resulted in his repeated prison term extensions apart from the solitary confinements, beatings and torture that he sustained,” said Jamphel Monlam, the Assistant Director of the Centre and one of the members of the “Group of Ten”. He further elaborates by saying, “This release is yet another token gesture by the Chinese government before any major international events. The fact remains that he has spent the best part of his life in prison with physical and emotional scars that will last for the rest of his life,” said Jamphel Monlam.