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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Last "Singing Nun" Released by China

GoUpstate.com: An online service of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Tibet MapThe last of 14 Tibetan "singing nuns" was released Thursday from a Chinese prison, granted a sentence reduction after nearly 15 years behind bars.

Phuntsog Nyidron's sentence was due to run until March 2005, but she was granted an early release.

Phuntsog Nyidron was arrested at age 22 in 1989 on charges of "counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement" and sentenced to eight years in prison.

In 1993, she and 13 other women became known as the "singing nuns" after they used a tape recorder smuggled into the prison to record songs about their love for their families and their homeland. Their sentences were extended after the tape was smuggled out of the prison.

The linked article states the belief of interested parties that the release came about due to pressure from the United States and a desire on China's part to be seen as conciliatory ahead of planned talks between Chinese officials and representatives of the Tibetan Government in exile.

Such "strategic" individual prison releases is a common tactic of the Chinese to gain bargaining power ahead of any negotiations with foreign countries or organisations.

Regardless of the reason thankfully another innocent is free.