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Tibetan Monk Freed After Jail Term for Social Media Posts

Tibetan monk Rinchen Tsultrim was freed from a Sichuan Province prison on February 1, 2024. He served four and a half years for “inciting secession” due to his political posts on WeChat. He’s now under tight surveillance, with restricted freedom. His health and mental state are currently unclear.


Rinchen Tsultrim, a monk from Nangshig Monastery in Sichuan’s Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, started sharing his views via WeChat and his website, “Skepticism on Tibet,” after the 2008 Tibetan unrest. Despite warnings in 2018 from local authorities to cease his critical online expressions and the shutdown of his website, he continued his advocacy.

His arrest on August 1, 2019, led to incommunicado detention until his family was informed in March 2020 of his “inciting separatism” charges. Following a secret trial, he received a sentence in November 2020 for “inciting secession,” with additional political rights restrictions. Details of his trial and detention emerged only after UN human rights experts inquired in August 2021.

China’s stringent control over ethnic minorities, under the guise of combating separatism, extremism, and terrorism, severely limits access to Tibetan regions, hindering human rights investigations. New religious regulations from February 2021 mandate alignment with the Communist Party and socialist values, leading to significant religious and cultural site destruction, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang.

Following his sentence, Rinchen Tsultrim was released on February 1, 2024, yet remains under strict surveillance, with his health and well-being unclear. Amnesty International continues to advocate for the rights of Tibetans like Rinchen Tsultrim, emphasizing the need for freedom from prosecution for peaceful expression and post-release surveillance.