Mass imprisonments in central Tibet revealed seven years later

Namdak, who was arrested in 2013 (RFA)
Namdak, who was arrested in 2013 (RFA)
10th February 2021

Sources reveal previously unknown arrests from 2013

Free Tibet has learned of mass imprisonments in central Tibet, more than seven years after the event. 

According to Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service, a Tibetan in exile who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that in 2013, mass arrests of Driru County residents took place.

The source revealed that Namdak, 34 years old, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in around July 2013 for helping Tibetans who were seeking to reach India. Namdak has struggled with appendicitis for the past two or three years but his family has not been allowed to meet him. Namdak hails from Meri Village, Tsala Township, Driru County, Nagchu in central Tibet.

Six or seven other Tibetans from Driru County were also imprisoned for 13 years around the same time of Namdak’s arrest but their details or reasons for arrests were not disclosed as required by the Chinese legal procedure

The mass arrests and lengthy sentences of Driru residents speak to the heavy surveillance and security crackdown in the area, which is administered as part of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The TAR is sealed off and notoriously hard to access, with news of human rights abuses often reaching the outside world months or years later. 

The information has been shared at a critical moment when the family of Namdak is still hoping to have access to Namdak and have medical attention granted to him immediately.

Also in 2013, 30 Tibetans from Driru County who had returned to Tibet from India were arrested in Lhasa and imprisoned and tortured in the notorious Chushul prison, according to the Central Tibetan Administration’s source. Following their release, they were deprived of their right to harvest caterpillar fungus for around three years, and they continue to face travel restrictions. Tibetans in Driru County who have family ties in India were subjected to “political re-education classes.”

Driru County has been an epicentre of protests since May 2013 following an anti-mining protest at a sacred mountain called Naglha Dzamba Mountain.


At  Free Tibet, we push for justice, for Tibetans who are wrongfully imprisoned, but also for the officials responsible for crimes in Tibet. Chen Quanguo is responsible for a range of abuses, from torture and killings in Tibet to horrific atrocities against the Uyghur people. Join our campaign to hold him to account.