Case studies - Death in detention - Tsering Gyaltsen

Tsering Gyaltsen was last seen on 9 February 2012 being taken away by security forces. According to an eyewitness, he had been badly beaten and was unable to walk. They believed his back had been broken.

His relatives repeatedly went to the Public Security Bureau office to inquire about him. Each time they asked, local officials denied any knowledge of him.

Possible injuries in detention

In late May, a police officer told Drango Monastery that Tsering had died. The family held a death ceremony but could not perform the traditional sky burial because they had not received his body.

When Tibetans die in custody, their bodies may not be released in order to conceal evidence of serious injuries sustained through torture. Whether Tsering Gyaltsen was subjected to further torture or died as the result of his severe beating before arrest cannot be established.

Drango protest

Tsering Gyaltsen was one of many Tibetans from Drango who went into hiding following a protest there on 23 January 2012 even though he did not participate in the protest. Over 100 Tibetans from the area were arbitrarily detained following the protest and locals reported a culture of fear.

During the protest, two Tibetans were shot dead and scores more sustained gunshot wounds when Chinese state security forces opened fire on the protesters. 

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