China disappears elderly woman on pilgrimage

13th April 2018

A Tibetan pilgrim has been secretly detained in Darlag County on route to Lhasa.

Lhamo Dolma was taken away by Chinese secret police on 28 March while on a pilgrimage to Lhasa from her home in Bora township, Sangchu County, eastern Tibet.

A source reported that she was "suddenly taken away" for "questioning" by "a few secret police in plain clothes".

She was seized in nearby Darlag County and her family members, who were on pilgrimage with her, were warned against sending information about her detention to others.

Her family have not yet officially been informed of her detention by the local security officials despite the criminal procedure law of China requiring security organs to produce a detention warrant in such circumstances.

Her current whereabouts remains unknown. So too does the reason for her detention, as her activity at the time of her sudden disappearance appears to be purely spiritual not political.

Sources have informed Tibet Watch that Dolma was closely associated with monk Sangay (Sangyal) Gyatso who was detained on 23 March 2012. Sangay Gyatso was arrested alongside three other monks after they protested against the Chinese government by carrying portraits of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan flags and calling for human rights, religious freedom and language rights in Tibet.

During his detention, Lhamo Dolma had often brought him food and clothes which may have led to authorities suspecting her of clandestine political activism.

It is likely that such actions would result in increased surveillance of her movements by security officials. Since then, she had been ordered to report to Bora village public security bureau during her occasional visits to Labrang Tashikyil monastery. 

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.


In Tibet the Chinese Communist Party oversees what some have called the world's largest open air prison. The authorities have the power to switch the light on and off, peering into Tibetans' emails one moment and making political prisoners vanish from their families and friends, apparently into darkness, the next. Help us push for Tibet's hidden political prisoners to be found and released.