Kunchok Jinpa, a major news source from Tibet’s autonomous Chinese zone, died of ill-treatment after spending nearly eight years in detention. The international community is urged by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to increase pressure on the Chinese government to release all imprisoned defenders of press freedom.
Tour guide Kunchok Jinpa, 51, who before his arrest in 2013 was a primary source of news on Tibet for foreign media, died in Lhasa on 6 February 2021 as a result of ill-treatment endured while in custody. After providing information on demonstrations in his native city of Driru, in eastern Tibet, he was serving a 21-year prison term for ‘leaking state secrets.’
“The Chinese regime should be held fully accountable for the death of Kunchok Jinpa, who was detained, submitted to ill-treatment, and likely tortured for the simple fact of sharing information to the media”, says Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau head, who urges the international community “to increase pressure on Beijing to release all detained press freedom defenders.”
In 2017, while in custody, Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate and recipient of the RSF Press Freedom Award, and Yang Tongyan, a dissident blogger, both died of ill-treatment.
In the 2020 RSF World Press Freedom Index, China ranks 177th out of 180 and is the world’s biggest captor of journalists, with at least 121 arrested, sometimes in life-threatening circumstances.