Chinese government releases Tibetan political prisoner after eight years behind bars

Phagpa Kyab.
11th September 2020

Phagpa Kyab released after eight years in prison for allegedly pouring petrol on Tibetan who self immolated.

Chinese authorities have reportedly released a Tibetan political prisoner called Phagpa Kyab after he spent eight behind bars for his alleged involvement in a self-immolation, Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch has said. 

Kyab, 57, from eastern Tibet was accused of pouring petrol over another Tibetan called Lhamo Tseten who set himself on fire on 26 October 2012 in the fourth recorded self immolation of that week, Tibet Watch said.

Tibetan self immolations are usually considered to be a form of protest. There were 155 confirmed cases in Tibet between February 2009 and 24 May 2019. In November last year Free Tibet reported another case where Tibetan twenty four year old set himself on fire.

Kyab was arrested by Chinese police on 4 December 2012 and “disappeared,” later sentenced to eight in prison for his connection to Tseten’s self-immolation, Tibet Watch said.

His family didn’t know about the sentence when it was passed and they were surveilled by police, Tibet Watch said. They added that his condition after his release is unknown.


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.