A Tibetan woman who served more than a year in prison for sharing news about her nephew’s arrest had badly damaged limbs and bruises all over her body when Chinese authorities released her last week.

After completing her sentence of one year and three months, Dolkar was released from Ra-nga Khar (Xinduqiao) prison in Minyak (Chinese: Minya) near Dartsedo (Kangding) in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.

The International Campaign for Tibet reported last year on the sentencing of Dolkar and the arrest of her nephew Wangchen and two of his friends, Lobsang and Yonten, for praying for the Panchen Lama—a Tibetan Buddhist leader whom China abducted in 1995—and calling for the reunion of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama in Tibet.

Multiple Tibetan exile media outlets carried reports on Dolkar’s release. Dhondup, her brother who lives in exile, told the Norway-based Voice of Tibet that Dolkar was released from prison in poor health. He also said that her limbs are in terrible condition due to carrying and moving rocks as prison labor.


Wangchen and his aunt Dolkar in an undated photo. (Photo: RFA)

Upon release, she was taken to a local clinic on Aug. 16 to extract puss and other fluids from her limbs.

There were also bruise marks all over her body. She is currently recovering at home.

Radio Free Asia and Voice of America reported that Chinese prison authorities warned Dolkar not to engage with the public on social media or over the phone. The authorities also told her not to upload any image on her social media profile except photos of herself. Her current stay at home is being compared to house arrest.

Panchen Lama protest

Public Security Bureau officers arrested Dolkar in May 2019 on grounds of endangering national security and leaking state secrets. In seeking support for the release of her then 20-year-old nephew Wangchen and his two friends, she shared information about their arrest to the outside world. For her action, local authorities sentenced her to one year and three months in prison.

Wangchen and his two friends, Lobsang and Yonten, performed an incense-burning ceremony and hung prayer flags on the hill behind Sershul Monastery in Kardze Prefecture for the kidnapped Panchen Lama.

After the prayer on April 29, 2019—which was just a few days after the Panchen Lama turned 30—they voiced slogans for the release of the Panchen Lama and reunion of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama in Tibet.

Police arrested the three along with a fourth disabled person who was eventually released.

A local court sentenced Wangchen to four and a half years in prison while Lobsang and Yonten were fined 15,000 yuan (US $2,211) and ordered to take six months of political reeducation classes on “issues of national security.”

Born in Chu’ngon (Chinese: Qingshui) in Matoe (Maduo) County in Golok (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, Dolkar eventually settled in Sershul (Shiqu) County in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province.

With her husband Kartse, she has a 16-year-old and an eight-year-old daughter.