A nun named Sonam Yangba, who was expelled from Yachen Gar’s Choenit Riktsel Khadoling Monastic Institute 2019, has committed suicide.
[Posted on T.T Tibetan Site 13th February 2020] According to a Tibet Times source from the region, Sonam Yangba comes from the Doshungma area in Jomda County, Chamdo was among a group of nuns expelled from Yachen Gar in May 2019. She is known to have committed suicide sometime between the months of July and August 2019. However, any information on the location, whereabouts of her body, or the condition of her family could not be obtained despite numerous attempts to investigate the incident, due to the extreme clampdown on communication channels by the Chinese government.
The same source revealed that the cause of her suicide was due to extreme psychological duress and fear. Following her expulsion from Yachen Gar, she was held at a detention center. Sonam was admitted to a hospital for a few days because of a severe illness and underwent examinations and tests. However, the authorities summoned her to return to the detention center and warned her that if she did not return immediately, she would be punished severely. The source said the threat of torture and punishment led to her taking her own life.
It was further revealed that following the news of Sonam’s suicide, the other nuns at the detention center began a hunger strike. The nuns had no details about her suicide or who was with her at the time.
The news of her demise prompted the nuns at the detention center to fast for days. The Chinese authorities at the detention center began imposing further restrictions and torturing the nuns. To prevent the news from spreading to the public, internet access in Yachen Gar was cut off, resulting in a delay in receiving the information. The source also said that many nuns expelled from Yachen Gar in March and April 2019 were held in detention centers for an extended period and subjected to political re-education sessions. The nuns were sent to their homes in November with strict orders to stay in their homes and to not enter any monasteries. The authorities further advised the nuns to disrobe and become laypeople. Before their release from the detention centers, nuns were made to change into regular clothes and create identification cards like laypeople.
Sonam Yangba was about 30 years old and belonged to Yachen Gar’s Choenit Riktsel Khadoling Monastic Institute.