Takna Jigme Sangpo

Takna Jigme Sangpo

Ambassador Clark Randt, U.S. Ambassador to China, asked Chinese authorities on April 12 to grant him a meeting with recently released Takna Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest-serving political prisoner. Takna Jigme Sangpo said that he was not feeling well and has high blood pressure in his first-ever interview to the media.

Although Ambassador Randt did not meet with Jigme Sangpo during his visit, an embassy spokesman said, “The ambassador has requested that he or other appropriate United States government officials or persons be allowed to see Mr. Sangpo at the earliest, appropriate time.”

Sangpo told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service on April 5 that a physician from Mentseekhang, the institute for traditional Tibetan medicine, was coming to treat him.

Sangpo said that he was not feeling well.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcast the interview in its April 6 morning program. Sangpo said he was 73* years old and that he was first imprisoned in 1965. He was rearrested in 1983 and sentenced to 15 years, thereafter for another five and an additional eight years. Sangpo said that he had spent a total of 32 years in prison and five years without civil and political rights, making it 37 years without freedom.

Sangpo appeared unsure about the nature of his release, possibly because the Chinese authorities may not have informed him accurately. Sangpo told RFA that he still had nine years left to serve his term (implying that he thinks he will have to go back to prison after the medical treatment).

Chinese authorities have indicated to Sangpo that a request to seek medical treatment abroad would be “sympathetically considered,” according to Tibet Information Network (TIN)

The tone of Sangpo’s voice during the interview seemed to indicate that he was concerned someone might have been monitoring the conversation, either over the phone or outside the house where he was residing.

His priority now seems to be to get good medical attention.

*Earlier reports had listed Sangpo’s age as 76